Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chevron Turns To “Obscure,” “Kangaroo” Court To Save It From $19 Billion Judgment

With hundreds of millions of dollars frozen in Argentina and legal losses in both U.S. and Ecuador courts piling up, Chevron is turning to an “obscure,” “kangaroo” court renting office space in the bowels of The Hague to try and escape the $19 billion judgment, writes Amazon Watch’s Paul Paz y Mino in his latest blog:

“So what do you do if you're a massive corporate criminal that has lost in local and national courts and the court of public opinion, been rejected by the U.S. Supreme court, had your assets seized and frozen abroad, and stand teetering on the brink of losing several other suits costing you billions of dollars in assets after decades of telling your shareholders you have ZERO risk in the matter?

“Well, if you're Chevron you try to weasel your way out any way you can and look to anyone – no matter how removed from the matter – to declare you're the victim rather than the perpetrator. In this particular case, as we wrote about last year, Chevron has found an obscure private arbitration panel, acting under the mantle of the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty, in an attempt to circumvent justice in Ecuador and threaten that country into interfering in the Lago Agrio case.”

The private arbitration panel that Paul writes about recently demanded that the Government of Ecuador stop the Ecuadorians from enforcing their $19 billion judgment against Chevron. Ecuador has rightly argued that it cannot interfere in its judiciary; that it would be a violation of the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Ecuadorians have filed lawsuits in Argentina, Canada and Brazil to try and seize Chevron’s assets in those countries. Courts in Argentina have frozen Chevron’s assets there, believed to be worth about $2 billion. Chevron has few assets in Ecuador.

The panel is composed of corporate lawyers, who have close ties to Chevron’s law firm, King & Spalding and is highly conflicted in that its members are allowed to serve on the panel, even though they are representing other corporations before another panel at the same time. See this blog here for more details.

Read Paul’s entire blog here and watch this video, made by Friends of the Earth.

The Ecuadorians have ignored this panel and will continue to do so, given that it has no jurisdiction in the enforcement of the $19 billion judgment that they received from a legitimate court in Ecuador for the environmental crimes of Chevron.

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