Financial Times Blog – Fear of precedents drives Chevron fight against Ecuador claims
Chevron’s high-profile defense against a lawsuit seeking $27bn for environmental damages in Ecuador has ranged from YouTube postings to secretly-taped videos of the judge discussing the case in what it claims is evidence of political interference and corruption in the country. The nature of Chevron’s defence, which has included keeping those who did the secret taping away from media and the authorities, certainly is uncharacteristic of an oil major.
Typically these companies settle cases or do whatever else they can to avoid drawing negative attention to themselves. But, then again, this is no ordinary lawsuit. The damages being sought are extremely high – roughly a quarter of Chevron’s market capitalisation of $140bn or a fifth of its $160bn in assets.