The Chevron v. Donziger RICO trial to hold Steven Donziger and his associates accountable for orchestrating and executing a fraudulent scheme against Chevron in Ecuador started yesterday in New York, and Chevron began calling key witnesses after brief opening statements by each party concluded.
The second day of the trial commenced today, with witnesses Chris Bogart (CEO of litigation hedge fund Burford Capital) and David Russell (former Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ scientific expert) being called to give testimony. Russell’s testimony will continue tomorrow. Their witness statements, along with those of Chevron Attorney, Ricardo Reis Veiga’s, whose testimony concluded today, can be found linked below.
Ricardo Reis Veiga
Veiga is the Senior Managing Counsel for the Major Transactions Law Group at Chevron. Since 1990 he has been one of the principle attorneys involved in providing legal advice relating to various matters regarding Texaco Petroleum Company’s (TexPet) former operations in the Oriente region of Ecuador. From 1990 through 1998, he participated in the negotiations of the settlement and release between TexPet and the Republic of Ecuador and Petroecuador and monitored the remediation conducted by TexPet. From 2003 to 2009, he oversaw the day-to-day defense of the lawsuit against Chevron in Lago Agrio. In 2003, Donziger and his team sought to have bogus criminal charges brought against Veiga, his colleague, Rodrigo Perez Pallares, and former ministers of officials of the Republic of Ecuador for purported falsification of documents regarding the settlement and release in an effort to pressure Chevron into a settlement. The charges were formally dismissed by the Republic of Ecuador in 2011 after an extensive personal toll.
Bogart is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Burford Capital LLC, which finances litigation. On October 31, 2010, Burford gave the plaintiffs $4 million in financing as the first tranche in what was planned to become a $15 million investment. In exchange it received a 1.5% stake of any recovery, which was to rise to a 5.5% stake upon full funding. In a September 2011 letter to Donziger’s team, Bogart accused them of having defrauded the firm into investing in their case two years prior, stating: “We believe that you and particularly your U.S. representatives engaged in a multi-month scheme to deceive and defraud in order to secure desperately needed funding,” and that, “all the while concealing material information and misrepresenting critical facts in the fear that we would have walked away had we known the true state of affairs.”
Russell is an environmental engineer and the president and the principal of Global Environmental Operations, Inc., an environmental consulting firm. Russell worked for Donziger from 2003 to 2005. At one time he was the lead environmental scientist for Donziger and his team.