Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ecuadorian Tells Chevron It's Time For Change In Leadership

Amazon Watch's latest official blog gives us a heads-up that one of the Ecuadorians suing Chevron will be at the oil giant's next shareholder meeting in San Ramon, California, Chevron's headquarters, on May 29th, urging CEO and Chairman of the Board John Watson to take a permanent hike.  The blog is below and here. Enjoy!

Servio Returns to Hand Watson a Pink Slip

Take Action!

Tell the Chevron board of directors
to fire CEO John Watson.
Two years ago Ecuadorian farmer Servio Curipoma left his rainforest home and traveled thousands of miles to bring his story to the United States. This month he returns to demand – on behalf of all the Amazonian communities that have been destroyed by Chevron – that John Watson pay a personal price for his region's suffering. Servio is calling on Watson to resign from his dirty post as CEO of Chevron.
You may remember how Servio had us all grasping our seats just two years ago with his deeply personal story of how Chevron devastated his lands and drinking water, causing a public health crisis that continues to this day. Servio lost both his parents (his mother's heartbreaking story is told here) and a sister to cancer, which doctors have attributed to drinking water contaminated by toxic crude waste. Since that time, Servio has become an active voice for his community over the past 16 years, demanding that Chevron take responsibility for the contamination that has so severely affected his family.
In 2011, we were honored to accompany Servio to the halls of power in Washington DC and New York to meet with decision makers in the government, media and environmental and human rights groups. He then took it right to Chevron's doorstep in San Ramon, California to confront John Watson and Chevron face to face. At that time Chevron had just lost the $19 billion legal battle for environmental and human rights crimes in Ecuador. Watson, who had been CEO for just over a year, was dismissive of Servio and his plea for help for the communities of Ecuador. Watson, an architect of the Texaco-Chevron merger, knew full well what had happened in the rainforest and did everything but take responsibility for the disaster, blaming Servio's suffering on Ecuadorian oil companies. Of course Watson knows that to be untrue since Texaco was the sole operator and has been found guilty of deliberately creating the environmental disaster.
Servio will return to Chevron headquarters for their Annual General Meeting on May 29th with a pink slip in hand for Watson and clear a demand of the Board of Directors. In the last two years, rather than face the reality and consequences of the judgment against them, John Watson has led Chevron on a "scorched earth" legal campaign against anyone and everyone who has ever spoken up about the company's atrocious crimes in Ecuador. He has labeled Servio and his community members as global conspirators and accused THEM of attempting to extort money from Chevron. Ludicrous and completely unacceptable! He has even attacked his own shareholders and tagged human rights and environmental organizations (including Amazon Watch) as co-conspirators. His company now faces a criminal investigation in California, billions of dollars in damages in Brazil, has its assets frozen in Argentina and Watson himself will be deposed in a matter of weeks related to the matter.
John Watson clearly represents the failed approach and reprehensible strategy of Chevron. Human rights and environmental organizations have now called for his resignation. Thousands of individuals citing these serious issues and others have added their voices to Servio's in a growing chorus that demands that John Watson must go! Please join them if you haven't already.
When will Chevron finally FESS UP and CLEAN UP its toxic mess in Ecuador and help the communities who still suffer to this very day?

Become a follower of  The Chevron Pit.
Follow us on Twitter at @ChevronPit and like us on Facebook.
Visit and watch a video on ChevronToxico.com to find out more.
Support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan Allowing Chevron to Use Secret Witnesses Against Ecuadorians and Donziger

Decision Compared to “Spanish Inquisition” and “Star Chamber”

We already have reported how New York federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has been under furious criticism of late from prominent lawyers, including famed San Francisco-based attorney John Keker, for trying to mount a “show trial” in New York to help Chevron evade its $19 billion liability in Ecuador for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest.

Never one to mince words, Keker publicly accused Chevron of trying to drown Judge Kaplan’s court in “chicken shit” discovery motions and said, “I’ve never seen a judge treat an oil company… like a widow or orphan.  Everything they [Chevron] want, they get.”  Read the extraordinary article from the San Francisco legal newspaper, where Keker recounts what he calls Kaplan’s “implacable hostility” toward his client Steven Donziger, a longtime lawyer for the rainforest communities in Ecuador and the main target of a vicious Chevron retaliation campaign.

Lately, there is evidence that Judge Kaplan is going even more off the rails in what appears to be an increasingly  personal crusade to destroy the case of the Ecuadorians.

Judge Kaplan is now routinely entertaining Chevron motions to deny the Ecuadorians and Donziger the right to know the identities of witnesses the oil giant plans to use against them.  See this motion Chevron filed today.   Kaplan already has granted Chevron’s request with respect to two “secret” witnesses; Chevron’s latest motion seeks the same status for a third.
A well-known Texas law firm is now joining Keker in calling out Judge Kaplan for acts that indigenous leaders in Ecuador have characterized as xenophobic, arrogant, and racist.  See this article for a summary of how Judge Kaplan has insulted the Ecuadorians from the bench.

Craig Smyser, of Smyser Kaplan & Veselka in Houston filed a powerful motion (available here) in response to Chevron’s extraordinary request to hide its witnesses from the accused.  (Smyser represents two Ecuadorians who are part of the class that won the judgment, Hugo Camacho and Javier Piaguaje.)

Smyser writes:
“Chevron files motions to conceal identities of accusers that would be right at home in the Spanish Inquisition or the Star Chamber, confident that the Court will grant the motions every time…  The motion is offensive to basic principles of U.S. law … that permit an accused to confront his accuser.  Only totalitarian and repressive regimes permit, especially in a civil context such as this, an accuser to hide his or her name from the accused.”

Chevron is trying to claim the secret affiant might be subject to reprisals in Ecuador, but Smyser pointed out correctly that Chevron has presented not a shred of evidence to support its claim.  In fact, nobody from Chevron involved in the 19-year case – including hundreds of people from Chevron’s 2,000-person legal team and 60 law firms – has ever reported being harmed by anybody in Ecuador, a nation that enjoys warm diplomatic relations with the U.S. and is a mecca for U.S. tourists visiting Quito (a UNESCO world heritage site) and the Galapagos.

Most of Quito is far safer than parts of New York City, where Judge Kaplan lives.  That’s especially true when you work for Chevron and get to travel abroad with beefy security dudes at your side.  Just last week Chevron officials, some from the U.S., held a large press event in Quito to discuss the company’s view of the case.  All apparently got out alive.

In fact, Chevron conducted a hotly-contested eight-year trial in its preferred forum of Ecuador -- and continues to do battle on appeal there -- without being able to cite a single incident of harm needed to justify such an extraordinary request.  Dozens of Chevron lawyers and advisors, many from the U.S., participated in the trial.

The irony is telling. Those who really have been, and continue to be, under threat are the Ecuadorians and Donziger. They have been subject to death threats, espionage, and defamatory attacks by the oil giant and its “investigators” at Kroll and generally labor under a cloud of hostility created by Chevron’s goon squad. Donziger himself was a victim of a Chevron espionage campaign in Manhattan.

Chevron’s sudden use of “secret” witnesses is an old trick used by lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to create the optical illusion that the human rights abuser in this case (Chevron) is actually under “threat” from its victims, the indigenous communities who have seen their cultures decimated by the company’s pollution. (See here for a summary of the evidence used to find Chevron liable, and here for a video about the case.)

The lawyers on Gibson Dunn’s dream team, led by the ethically-challenged Randy Mastro and Andrea Neumann (both have been sanctioned for their work on behalf of Chevron – see here and here), pulled the same “secret witness” stunt in another case in Florida.  That was before the firm quickly withdrew its motion for the court to hear secret testimony when it was clear the maneuver was going to backfire.  (Read this rather shocking and extensive legal brief for details of how Gibson Dunn paid secret witnesses to present false testimony in court on behalf of the Dole company.)

Smyser’s criticism of Judge Kaplan should not be taken lightly.  He and two partners founded their boutique litigation firm as refugees from the prominent Houston corporate firms of Vinson & Elkins and Baker Botts.  Smyser has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top litigators in Texas and has a roster of prominent clients.

Two weeks ago, Keker – a decorated former Marine who knows a thing or two about courage -- asserted in a brief that Judge Kaplan has let the New York case “degenerate into a Dickensian farce” where “Chevron is using its limitless resources to crush defendants and win this case through might rather than merit.”

Keker has moved to withdraw from the case because Donziger cannot pay his fees.  Donziger recently filed a notice of appearance and is prepared to defend himself alone against Chevron’s army (114 lawyers at Gibson Dunn work on the case), although he has very little trial experience.

Chevron is suing Donziger for roughly $60 billion; Donziger lives in a two-bedroom apartment with his family.

It is also obvious that Judge Kaplan does not want the truth about Chevron to come out in his courtroom.  He already has ruled that Donziger cannot use as evidence the extensive scientific evidence of Chevron’s contamination in Ecuador that the court there relied when finding the company liable.  This essentially neuters Donziger’s ability to defend himself from Chevron’s preposterous claim that he was pursuing “sham litigation” in Ecuador.

Judge Kaplan also has signaled he will deny Donziger the right to pursue counterclaims against Chevron that provide a chilling picture of the company’s crimes, fraud, espionage, and bribery in Ecuador. Donziger’s counterclaims against Chevron are not what Judge Kaplan wants in his hoped-for script.

Chevron’s public relations flaks have been pretty open about the company’s strategy to evade justice by “demonizing” Donziger, as shown in a 2009 email from Chris Gidez, the company’s longtime press representative from Hill & Knowlton.  (We will have more on that soon.)  Copied on the Gidez email are two employees of CRC public relations, the right-wing extremist entity in Northern Virginia responsible for the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry when he was running for President.

Donziger recently released this statement and this press release explaining why he believes he cannot get a fair trial in Judge Kaplan’s courtroom.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals this week set May 28 as the date it will consider a petition by the Ecuadorians and Donziger that Judge Kaplan be taken off the case. The appellate court already unanimously reversed Judge Kaplan in 2012 when he tried to impose an illegal and unprecedented injunction purporting to block the Ecuadorians from enforcing their winning judgment in other countries – an injunction that brought scorn on the U.S. federal judiciary from academics and lawyers worldwide.

 We will keep you posted. 

Become a follower of  The Chevron Pit.
Follow us on Twitter at @ChevronPit and like us on Facebook.
Visit and watch a video on ChevronToxico.com to find out more.
Support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

$19B Ecuador Liability Puts Chevron CEO Watson On Hot Seat Before Annual Meeting

Amazon Watch has issued this press release (see below) about Chevron's upcoming shareholder's meeting and the heat CEO and Chairman of the Board John Watson will take from activist shareholders about the Ecuador liability.

OAKLAND, Calif., May 14 /CSRwire/ - Facing growing shareholder unrest over asset seizure actions and forced to testify about his alleged misconduct in the $19 billon Ecuador case, Chevron CEO John Watson again will be on the hot seat at the company’s annual meeting in late May where rainforest indigenous villagers and investors plan to confront him over his company’s toxic dumping in the Amazon.
In a stunning rebuke to Watson, U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis last week ordered that he and another top Chevron legal official sit for depositions to be taken by lawyers for the villagers and one of their representatives, New York-based attorney Steven Donziger. (See the judicial order hereand a Reuters article here.) Watson likely will have to answer questions about his own role in the case, including payments from Chevron officials for witness testimony, among other hot-button topics that the villagers say prove Chevron committed crimes in Ecuador.
The depositions had been furiously opposed by Chevron’s lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, who are facing their own ethical challenges in defending the oil giant’s toxic dumping in Ecuador. (See this court ruling and this blog.)
At the Chevron annual meeting, scheduled for May 29 at company headquarters near San Francisco, Watson also will try to beat back two shareholder resolutions that directly challenge his mishandling of the Ecuador liability. Currently, Chevron faces enforcement actions targeting billions of company assets in Argentina, Canada and Brazil (see here for Canada, here for Brazil, and here for Argentina) and has suffered a series of devastating courtroom setbacks, including one in the U.S. Supreme Court, which prevented the oil giant from using U.S. courts to block international enforcement efforts.
The Financial Times reported just this week that Chevron was forced to “rethink” a planned $1.5 billion investment in a huge gas field in Argentina because of the enforcement action stemming from the Ecuador judgment. Earlier, a Chevron official has testified that the enforcement actions could cause “irreparable harm” to the company’s global operations.
The enforcement actions stem from an Ecuador court finding that Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest, decimating indigenous groups and causing an outbreak of cancer and other oil-related diseases. A summary of the judgment, based on a 220,000 page trial record and more than 64,000 chemical sampling results, can be found here.
A video about Chevron’s human rights abuses in Ecuador can be viewed here while a 60 Minutes report on the legal battle – which documents how Chevron installed pipes to deliberately run oil sludge into streams – can be viewed here.
Watson also is under fire for subpoenaing the files of several shareholder critics and alleging they are in a “conspiracy” with the Ecuadorian villagers who won the judgment against the company.New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson called the Chevron counterattack against its own investors “remarkable” in the annals of shareholder activism. (See Morgenson's article here.)
Last year, a resolution critical of Chevron management for the Ecuador liability received a whopping 38% of the vote from shareholders representing a combined $73 billion worth of Chevron stock. In addition, 40 institutional investors representing $580 billion in assets sent Watson a letter asking him to settle the case.
This year, the two shareholder resolutions that cite the Ecuador liability as a driving factor call for Chevron to appoint a director with environmental expertise and to lower the threshold needed to hold a special meeting.
Watson also faces these additional problems related to the Ecuador liability:
**Conflict of interest. Shareholders and activists say Watson should step down as Chevron CEO because of his failure to properly vet the Ecuador liability when the company purchased Texaco for $31 billion in 2001. Watson was a key driver behind the controversial transaction even though Amazon Watch specifically warned the company about the size of the liability.
**Deceit of shareholders. Watson also has been accused of lying to shareholders and the markets about key facts in the case, according to a recent report prepared by a Canadian securities lawyer. Several shareholders and a U.S. Congresswoman have asked the SEC to investigate Chevron for violating its disclosure obligations under U.S. law.
**Use of Kroll to spy on Chevron adversaries. The order from Judge Francis also requires that an official from the U.S. investigative services company Kroll, which essentially functions as a private surveillance agency for Chevron on the Ecuador case, sit for a deposition. Kroll operative San Anson was caught trying to bribe journalists to spy on the plaintiffs, while evidence surfaced the company has been involved in payments to judges in Ecuador and espionage against Donziger and his family, who live in Manhattan.
**Cash for witness testimony. Under Watson’s leadership, Chevron used Miami lawyer Andres Rivero to offer a suitcase full of cash to a former Ecuador judge in exchange for favorable testimony. Chevron later admitted it paid the judge more than ten times his annual salary and moved him to the U.S., where it is helping him obtain political asylum even though he is an admitted criminal.
**The Diego Borja bribery scandal. Under Watson’s tenure, Chevron admitted that it paid former employee Diego Borja more than $2 million to try to sabotage the Ecuador trial by entrapping a sitting judge in a fake bribery scandal. The move backfired, but the company still moved Borja to the U.S., where it pays him a substantial salary – the plaintiffs call it “hush money” – with no indication he is working.
As for enforcement actions, Watson faces a series of growing headaches.
In early November, a court in Argentina ordered that the company's assets be frozen while independent analysts are beginning to take notice that Chevron faces significant litigation problems around the world related to the Ecuador judgment. Chevron has $2 billion worth of assets in Argentina, and approximately $80 million of in cash is already in a court escrow account pending resolution of the enforcement action.
While Chevron recently won a temporary stay of the enforcement action in Canada on narrow technical grounds, the court found that the Ecuadorians established jurisdiction over Chevron subsidiaries that control roughly $15 billion worth of assets. The stay is now on appeal, with a decision expected in a few months.
In Brazil, where Chevron has an estimated $4 billion in assets, the Ecuador enforcement action is going through a streamlined process in the country’s highest court, with a ruling expected sometime in 2014. Chevron also faces a lawsuit from Brazilian authorities over its spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in 2011.
On a more personal level, the indigenous communities in Ecuador plan to confront Watson directly at the annual meeting. In past years, Watson has turned off the microphones of the Ecuadorians to silence them.
“Chevron needs to put its pants on, start acting like a grown up and accept responsibility for its mess in Ecuador,” Watson was told last year by Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua, an Ecuadorian who traveled from the rainforest to speak at the 2012 annual meeting.
Two years ago, Chevron’s annual meeting in Houston erupted in chaos when five shareholder critics were arrested as they confronted the company about its human rights abuses in Ecuador. At the time, Watson was accused of "losing his head" over the Ecuador case by Rainforest Action Network’s, Maria Ramos. Last year, he prevented two villagers from showing a video of the company’s damage to their ancestral lands. Chevron security officials also blocked them from passing out copies of the video to shareholders.
“Since becoming CEO Watson has led Chevron further down a dismal path – one where its international reputation is that of a corporate criminal on the run from justice,” said Paul Paz y Miño, a director at Amazon Watch, which has been monitoring the Ecuador liability for a decade.
“At any other company with an independent Board of Directors that adhered to proper ethical standards, Watson probably would have been fired by now,” added Paz y Miño.
For more background on the case, see this update prepared by Fenton Communications.
For more information, please contact:

Become a follower of  The Chevron Pit.
Follow us on Twitter at @ChevronPit and like us on Facebook.
Visit and watch a video on ChevronToxico.com to find out more.
Support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In Rare Occurrence, Chevron's CEO & Chair, John Watson, Will Be Deposed

Stop the presses! 

Even though he has characterized every aspect of Ecuador -- its people, culture, government and courts -- as corrupt, dysfunctional or a joke, U.S. Judge Lewis Kaplan finally ruled in favor of a motion filed by a group of Ecuadorians and their U.S. legal adviser.
The Ecuadorians may depose the oil giant's CEO and Chair, John Watson.  

It is rare that a CEO & Chairman of the Board is required to sit for a deposition, which will take place this month. Watson, though, has been intimately involved in the 20-year-old lawsuit, originally filed against Texaco in the U.S. but later re-filed in Ecuador against Chevron for massive oil contamination of the Amazon rainforest. Chevron purchased Texaco in 2001. In 2011, an Ecuador court delivered a $19 billion judgment against Chevron.

As the architect of the plan to purchase Texaco, Watson knew about Texaco's admission that it had dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic production water into the Ecuador rainforest's waterways. He knew about the 900 unlined pits that Texaco built to store pure crude. He knew about the internal audits Texaco conducted that showed massive contamination.  Yet, he pushed the merger and, as a result, inherited the largest environmental lawsuit in the world's history and urged a trial in Ecuador, only later to cry foul when he, his lawyers and his private investigative firm, Kroll, failed to undermine the Ecuadorian judicial system.  

Having lost in Ecuador, Watson and his 2,000 lawyers and legal assistants turned to the U.S. and found in Lewis Kaplan a federal judge only happy to take their spurious charges seriously. See this Chevron Pit for more background on Kaplan's bias against the Ecuadorians.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorians are focusing their resources and energy where it matters:  in countries where Chevron has assets. They have filed lawsuits in Argentina, Canada, Brazil and Ecuador to seize assets as payment for the judgment Chevron refuses to acknowledge. Currently, $2 billion has been frozen in Argentina.

Become a follower of  The Chevron Pit.
Follow us on Twitter at @ChevronPit and like us on Facebook.
Visit and watch a video on ChevronToxico.com to find out more.
Support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chevron's Lies In Ecuador Case Evident in NBC News Report

NBC Nightly News Ann Curry recently returned from Ecuador with this account of how impoverished indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest are preparing to fight -- literally and metaphorically -- their government's efforts to explore for oil on their native, pristine lands.

Meanwhile, some of these same groups are fighting in a U.S. courtroom 3,000 miles away 2,000 Chevron lawyers and a U.S. federal judge who believe a $19 billion judgment the Ecuadorians won in an Ecuador court is a fraud. Needless to say, The Chevron Pit strongly disagrees, while Chevron refuses to pay the judgment.

Curry's cameras document the beauty and the uniqueness of the Ecuadorian jungle in the Yasuni Park, reminding viewers that this was what another part of the rainforest once looked like before Texaco, now owned by Chevron, explored for oil five decades ago, using substandard drilling practices to maximize its profits. See this video to understand how Texaco, now Chevron, ruined the rainforest and destroyed a way of life for at least five indigenous groups.

Curry features an interesting proposal by Ecuador President Rafael Correa, who is asking developed countries driven by huge oil consumption to pay Ecuador NOT to explore for oil in the Yasuni Park, given that its thick and heavy vegetation helps keep the world's air supply cleaner by soaking up carbon dioxide.

By not developing the area, the rainforest is saved and the global environment improved but potential revenues from oil sales are not realized, depriving poor people of an education, safe housing and job opportunities. Correa believes Ecuador is, so to speak, scratching the developed world's back, but not getting any scratch in return.

On the other hand, Chevron would rather pay law firms like Gibson Dunn, Jones Day and King & Spalding hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the Ecuadorians in court, rather than spend even close to a similar amount on cleaning the soil and drinking water that Texaco contaminated. Chevron calculates that tactic is preferable than setting a precedent of actually helping people.

Though it's unlikely we've forgotten, the Nightly News segment reminds us that money -- the ability to make it and not lose it -- makes the world go around.  Watch the segment:

Become a follower of  The Chevron Pit.
Follow us on Twitter at @ChevronPit and like us on Facebook.
Visit and watch a video on ChevronToxico.com to find out more.
Support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2,000 Lawyers Failed To Block Chevron CEO John Watson From Court Deposition On Ecuador Case

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars for 2,000 lawyers and legal assistants to fight a group of impoverished Ecuadorian indigenous people in a historic oil contamination lawsuit, Chevron's CEO and Chairman of the Board John Watson will finally have to answer questions under oath about the environmental crimes committed by an oil company he recommended Chevron purchase. 

This, of course, assumes that U.S. Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan, who has sought to stop the Ecuadorians from enforcing their judgment, does not overrule a magistrate judge's decision issued yesterday, allowing the deposition to go forward. 

As the architect of the plan to purchase Texaco in 2001, Watson knew about Texaco's admission that it had dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic production water into the Ecuador rainforest's waterways. He knew about the 900 unlined pits that Texaco built to store pure crude. He knew about the internal audits Texaco conducted that showed massive contamination.  Yet, he pushed the merger and, as a result, inherited the largest environmental lawsuit in the world's history and urged a trial in Ecuador, only later to cry foul when he, his lawyers and his private investigative firm, Kroll, failed to undermine the Ecuadorian judicial system. 

It is about time that Chevron's highest ranking officer speak to the injustices that Texaco committed and Chevron tried to hide in Ecuador's rainforest.

Below is a statement issued by the Ecuadorians who won a $19 billion judgment against Chevron and are seeking to enforce that judgment in Argentina, Canada, Brazil and Ecuador.


Kroll official also must answer questions about Chevron bribery

Chevron CEO John S. Watson, who perhaps more than anyone knew about the grim history of deliberate and negligent dumping of oil and toxic chemicals by his company into the soil and streams of Ecuador’s Amazon region, will not escape his day in court. 

A magistrate appointed in the long running lawsuit brought by Chevron in New York in the aftermath of a $19 billion judgment against the company in Ecuador ruled today that Watson must be deposed by the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case.   He likely will be deposed later this month.

“There is little doubt that Mr. Watson has relevant knowledge,” said Magistrate James Francis, noting that Watson led the company’s successful merger of with Texaco in 2002, well after the suit was filed by indigenous Ecuadorians.  Their lands and livelihoods were disrupted and health endangered by Texaco’s dumping billions of gallons of waste in the Amazon valley of northern Ecuador over more than 30 years.  The ruling is here.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV denied motions by Chevron to block depositions of Watson and also from an official from the corporate spy firm Kroll, which was implicated in a bribery scheme in which an attorney from Chevron and an unnamed Kroll official provided a cache of cash to a corrupt provincial judge in Ecuador, Alberto Guerra, paying him for a failed effort to influence the judge who ultimately decided the case and assessed the huge judgment against the oil company.  A recorded transcript of that meeting can be found here and a news release recounting it here.

The lawyer, Andres Rivero, and the corporate investigator brought $20,000 – the Kroll official called it “money that's in the suitcase” --to pay Guerra for testimony against the plaintiffs, as revealed in recordings made by a Kroll operative in Ecuador and attached to a recent motion filed in the court in New York.    That meeting occurred on July 13, 2012, in Quito.

Judge Francis also found that an unnamed official for the oil and gas division of Kroll also must appear for depositions.  It was an uncommon victory for the plaintiffs in the New York case where presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan has kept his thumb heavily on the scale on behalf of the oil company, said Pablo Fajardo, lead counsel for the Ecuadorians who brought the case.  “Now CEO Watson and Kroll’s investigator can confirm what we already know:  that Chevron’s bullying and bribery  is part of a strategy hatched in Ecuador even before the ruling to avoid paying for remediation and the health and other needs of the affected people,” Fajardo said.


Become a follower of  The Chevron Pit.
Follow us on Twitter at @ChevronPit and like us on Facebook.
Visit and watch a video on ChevronToxico.com to find out more.
Support Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.