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Latin Business Chronicle – Latin America Business: Worst of 2010 – Jackpot Justice Goes Amok

Date: Dec 15, 2010

The Latin Business Chronicle includes the lawsuit against Chevron in Chevron on its Latin America “worst list” this year. It describes the Chevron Ecuador lawsuit as follows:

A 17-year legal battle against Chevron unit Texaco got a strange twist this year when outtakes from the film Crude included remarks by US lawyer Steve Donziger, where he jokes about ordering the assassination of any Ecuadorian judge that does not rule in favor of the lawsuit. The lawsuit against Chevron dates back to 1993. It was originally filed in the United States, but was thrown out here in 2002. Then the case was re-filed in Ecuador. The lawsuit claims that Chevron is responsible for environmental damage in Ecuador because of Chevron unit Texaco’s operations there from 1964 to 1990. When Texaco left Ecuador completely in 1992 it undertook a $40 million remediation and reached an agreement with the government that it would be free from any future lawsuits. However, the current government of Ecuador has violated that agreement and has repeatedly – and openly – supported the lawsuit against Chevron. Chevron has repeatedly denounced that the lawsuit has been marred by fraud, bias from the court-appointed expert, collusion with plaintiffs and political interference. Meanwhile, the size of the lawsuit has exploded the past three years — from $6 billion to $27 billion to $113 billion. “This is a racketeering enterprise that would make even the mob blush,” commented Chevron attorney Randy Mastro, a former organized crime prosecutor. Gustavo Coronel, a former board member of Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA,  calls the legal action against Chevron in Ecuador  a story of greed and deceit. Some of Donziger’s “phrases truly belong into the realm of gangsters,” he says. “The whole idea of a defenseless group of victims being abused by a big oil corporation is fiction. What remains in this case is a story of greed by a group that wanted to make a killing of billions of dollars off a powerful corporation, with the help of unscrupulous political leaders and judicial corruption.”

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