Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Did Chevron Lawyer Callejas Direct “Dirty Tricks” Operation?

Question: What role did Chevron's lead lawyer in Ecuador, Adolfo Callejas, have in directing the company's "dirty tricks" operation that was used to delay the multi-billion dollar environmental damages case?

Callejas has become Mr. Silent as evidence mounts that he was involved in a corruption scandal involving Chevron contractor (and member of the Callejas trial team) Diego Borja. Callejas has refused to answer even a single question about how Borja became embroiled – at Chevron's apparent behest – in a corruption scandal where he secretly videotaped a trial judge doing essentially nothing and then claimed the judge was involved in a bribery scheme (Chevron's allegations about the judge have been completely discredited).

As new evidence has implicated Chevron's legal team in a whole range of dubious activities – including "cooking" evidence submitted by the oil giant to the Court, creating dummy corporations to form "independent labs" that company lawyers would control, etc. – it would be appropriate for Chevron's General Counsel, Hewitt Pate, to step up and tell what he knows about possible misconduct from his own lawyers in Ecuador.

After Chevron posted the videos of the judge on YouTube and demanded an official "investigation", Callejas swore to the Ecuador Court that Borja was an independent third party who turned over the tapes to Chevron out of a sense of civic duty. We now know – through Borja himself – that he worked for Chevron on the environmental trial since at least 2004, supervising field sampling for the company, and that he shared an office building with Callejas and his Chevron colleagues in Ecuador's capital of Quito. Through at least the end of last year (and presumably to this day) Chevron was paying Borja the princely sum of $10,000 per month, a true millionaire's wage in Ecuador.

Borja also was caught on an audio recording telling a friend that he created a dummy company to make a Chevron lab appear "independent" when it was actually run by his wife. Borja's signature, and that of his wife, are on chain-of-custody documents for soil samples gathered during the trial at the direction of Callejas and the Chevron legal team.

Now Callejas has come under fire, and faces possible sanctions, in Ecuador for misleading the Ecuadorian Court when he told the judge that Borja was an independent third party when in fact he worked for the legal team being run by Callejas. Gives some insight into Chevron's peculiar brand of truth-telling, doesn't it?

One might wonder: What else did Callejas and Chevron lie to the court about relating to the dirty tricks operation? Why did Chevron, under false pretenses related to supposed "threats" against him, move Borja out of Ecuador and set him up in a luxury house paid for by Chevron's oil revenue only one mile from its world headquarters in San Ramon, CA?

One easy way to answer this question would be to ask Borja what happened in Ecuador. That's not possible now, because Chevron hired him a criminal defense lawyer and continues to pay him a salary (read: hush money) for sitting around his backyard pool which abuts a golf course.

This sort of delay, misdirection, and dishonesty is about par for the course for Chevron's legal team.

After all, two Chevron lawyers are currently under indictment in Ecuador (and fugitives from justice, living in the United States) for conspiring to falsify remediation results to induce the Government of Ecuador into "releasing" the company from further liability to the government for the company's actions in the area. Ten Ecuadorian government officials with whom they worked face the same charges.

Callejas needs to come clean and explain his relationship to Borja and the secret videos.