An international court stunned Ecuador by ordering it to pay $700 million to Chevron for failing to honor treaty obligations. It’s a jolt for the banana republic, which has gamed justice for years: The bill is due.
For Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, courts are a money tree from which to shake cash from “greedy” Western corporate investors.
In the mother of all conflicts of interest, his government has cheered on a $27 billion lawsuit by jungle activists against Chevron in Ecuador’s own courts, claiming Chevron polluted the country and anticipating a cut of the expected winnings.
In that case, an Ecuadorean judge was caught on tape telling an oil contractor the fix was in about his coming ruling.
Instead of dropping the case as tainted, Correa sped forward, howling about “injustice,” trotting out naive movie stars like actress Daryl Hannah to boost publicity, and using the anticipated payday as a substitute for economic development.
But Tuesday, Correa got a shock of reality from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which ordered his government to pay $700 million to Chevron in a separate lawsuit.
In this real-world judicial ruling, Ecuador was found guilty of violating the U.S.-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty by failing to resolve seven business disputes with Chevron dating from the 1990s.
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