Friday, February 24, 2012

Chevron’s Latest Deal: Backs Scratched, $Millions Made & Ecuadorians’ Rights Trashed

Read this recent press release by the Amazon Defense Coalition about Chevron’s kangaroo “judge” – Horacio Grigera Noan – who essentially is in the legal business with Chevron’s lawyer, R. Doak Bishop of the powerhouse law firm King & Spalding.

Horacio Grigera Noan

R. Doak Bishop

The press release explains in detail, but this is how it works:

As we’ve reported before, Chevron has turned to this clubby, chummy group of private arbitration lawyers who have instructed the Government of Ecuador to disregard its Constitution by telling the judiciary to block enforcement of the $18 billion judgment the Ecuadorian indigenous groups recently won against Chevron.

The Ecuador court has said thanks for your input, but we’re gonna abide by our Constitution, as well as international law. See here.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorians are justifiably upset with this development, but don't really think it matters at the end of the day. They have a legitimate judgment which they intend to enforce.

Yet, this clubby, chummy arbitration panel continues to meet and discuss why they think they have the authority to tell Ecuador courts what to do – at a price tag of at least $800 an hour per kangaroo and maybe more.

They have been known to make anywhere from $1 to $5 million depending how long they can drag out the cases. Chevron pays half. Guess who pays the rest: the Ecuadorian taxpayers.

Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting.

Chevron picks one of the kangaroos, right? Guess who is Chevron’s pick – Grigera Noan, who has partnered up with arbitration kingpin Bishop on at least five occasions. Of the five, three involved Ecuador, and Noan ruled against Ecuador every time.

There could be even more cases, but the arbitration process is very secretive; everything is done behind closed doors. So, no one really knows how many cases Bishop and Noan have banked.

But, as the press release points out, this back scratching is prohibited under arbitration rules, to the degree there are any.

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