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Chevron RICO Lawsuit Against Plaintiffs’ Lawyers and Consultants

Chevron brought a civil lawsuit in U.S. federal court under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Steven Donziger, the American lawyer behind the Ecuador lawsuit, and his associates to prove that the judgment was the product of fraud.

The RICO complaint was filed in February 2011 to hold the plaintiffs’ representatives accountable for fraud, extortion and other misconduct associated with the Lago Agrio litigation.

The case went to trial in October 2013. During the trial, Chevron called 24 witnesses, offered deposition testimony from 21 others, and submitted more than 3,000 exhibits into evidence.

Testimony was also included from those formerly aligned with the plaintiffs, who provided firsthand account of corruption:

  • Environmental Consultants: The plaintiffs’ key environmental consultants, from Stratus Consulting, provided sworn testimony disavowing their work for the plaintiffs’ lawyers and affirming that there is no scientific merit to the plaintiffs’ claims against Chevron.
  • Funders: One of the largest financial backers of the plaintiffs, Burford Capital, provided sworn testimony documenting fraud and other misconduct on the part of the plaintiffs’ lawyers to secure funding.
  • Former Judge: A former Ecuadorian judge who once presided over the case testified that the judge who issued the ruling was promised a half-million dollar bribe from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for ghostwriting the judgment in their favor.

On March 4, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment was the product of fraud and racketeering activity, finding it unenforceable. This decision was unanimously affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on August 8, 2016. The appeals court stated that Donziger and his team engaged in a “parade of corrupt actions…including coercion, fraud and bribery.”

Read the most recent RICO news on The Amazon Post.

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