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Chevron Calls for Criminal Investigation of Judge, Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Ecuador Case

Date: Dec 21, 2011

Company Submits Evidence of Fraud and other Crimes to Ecuador’s Prosecutor General

Chevron Corporation today published a letter submitted to Galo Chiriboga, Ecuador’s Prosecutor General, documenting evidence of fraud and corruption in the litigation against Chevron in Ecuador.  The company called on Ecuadorian authorities to investigate the misconduct of the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the presiding judge, Nicholas Zambrano, in the drafting of the fraudulent judgment rendered against Chevron earlier this year.

Chevron submitted evidence showing that plaintiffs’ representatives—including Steven Donziger, Pablo Fajardo, Juan Pablo Sáenz, Julio Prieto, and Luis Yanza—covertly worked with Judge Zambrano to draft the judgment.  The letter states that the fraudulent conduct “is causing serious, ongoing harm to Chevron Corporation and to the Republic of Ecuador.”

“To date, the plaintiffs’ representatives have failed to offer any explanation for how their internal, never-filed documents came to appear in the fraudulent Lago Agrio judgment,” said Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general counsel.  “Nor has the Judge explained how the plaintiffs’ private work came to be included in the decision bearing his name.  In the interest of justice and due process, it is incumbent upon the authorities in Ecuador to investigate the full extent of this misconduct.”

There is substantial and unrefuted evidence that the judgment against Chevron is fraudulent. The evidence provided to the Prosecutor General includes:

  • The judgment copies exact language from a June 2009 email that Fajardo sent to Donziger, Sáenz, and Prieto.  The body of the email includes a short memo from a not-yet identified third party and a “transcri[ption]” of a published Ecuadorian court opinion.  That “transcription” contains numerous mistakes not found in the published court opinion itself.  The judgment repeats all of these mistakes, exactly, as well as a citation error Fajardo made in his email.
  • The judgment also refers to several test samples by names that are not found in the record, but rather in private spreadsheets created by the plaintiffs, which contain information from the plaintiffs’ own database.  The judgment replicates errors contained in the plaintiffs’ database and replicates errors in the database attributing data to the wrong experts and confuses measurement units.
  • The judgment contains language from a private memorandum authored by plaintiffs’ attorney Juan Pablo Sáenz and other members of plaintiffs’ legal team around November 2007 regarding a Chevron subsidiary’s merger with Texaco.  No fewer than fifteen instances, significant portions of the Sáenz memorandum, including entire sentences, appear verbatim or nearly verbatim in the judgment.

Much of this evidence is corroborated by expert analyses commissioned by Chevron that found the similarities between the plaintiffs’ documents and the judgment are too great to be coincidence, and concluded that either plaintiffs wrote at least part of the judgment, or the author(s) of the judgment had access to documents prepared by the plaintiffs’ representatives and lawyers that were never submitted during the trial.

“This evidence raises disturbing questions about who is really behind the Lago Agrio judgment,” added Pate.  “This is just the latest chapter in an established pattern of fraud being carried out by plaintiffs’ lawyers and their representatives.”

In addition to the letter, Chevron has submitted corresponding evidence including video outtakes, emails, and other documents to prosecutors in Ecuador.