SAN RAMON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2017--
An Argentine court has dismissed
an attempt to enforce a fraudulent $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment
against Chevron Corporation in the country.
In a 22-page decision, the National Civil Court No. 61 in Buenos Aires
found the plaintiffs failed to prove that the case had any connection to
Argentina that would justify recognition of the 2011 Ecuadorian judgment
by the country’s courts.
The court found that Chevron Corporation is not domiciled and has no
assets in Argentina, which “seals the fate of the present exequatur as
it is inadmissible to recognize a foreign decision in this jurisdiction
where the defendant has no point of connection.” The court relied on a
previous decision from the Argentina Supreme Court which found that
Chevron’s indirect subsidiary in Argentina, Chevron Argentina SRL, is a
separate entity from Chevron Corporation; not a party to the Ecuadorian
lawsuit; and an embargo against its assets in support of the Ecuadorian
judgment is “manifestly contrary to Argentinean public policy.” The
opinion awards costs to Chevron, as the prevailing party.
“Once again, attempts to profit from this fraudulent judgment have been
rejected,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general
counsel. “We are confident that any jurisdiction that observes the rule
of law and examines the facts will similarly find the Ecuadorian
judgment to be illegitimate and unenforceable.”
Dismissal of the recognition action in Argentina is the latest setback
for the lawyers behind the fraudulent lawsuit.
A U.S. federal court ruled in 2014 that the Ecuadorian judgment was
unenforceable in the United States. In a 500-page
opinion, the court found Steven Donziger, the American lawyer behind
the lawsuit, and his associates violated federal racketeering laws to
obtain the judgment, committing extortion, money laundering, wire fraud,
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, witness tampering and
obstruction of justice. The court’s extensive findings were unanimously
upheld on appeal last year and, in June, the U.S. Supreme Courtdenied
Donziger’s petition seeking review of the matter.
Attempts to enforce the fraudulent judgment in other jurisdictions have
been met with similar resistance.
In October 2017, Reporting Justice Luis Felipe Salomão, of Brazil’s
Superior Court of Justice, issued his vote rejecting the attempted
recognition of the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Corporation in
that country. Justice Salomão cited a lack of jurisdiction and extensive
evidence of fraud and corruption that would make its recognition a
violation of public policy.
In January 2017, a Canadian court rejected an attempt to enforce the
Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron’s subsidiary, Chevron Canada
Limited. The court found that Chevron Canada is a separate entity from
Chevron Corporation, not a party to the Ecuadorian lawsuit and not a
debtor to the judgment.
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar issued a judgment against
Amazonia Recovery Ltd., a company set up by Donziger and his associates
to receive and distribute funds from the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment,
awarding Chevron$28 million in damages and issuing a permanent
injunction against Amazonia that prevents that company from supporting
the case against Chevron in any way.
Chevron has never operated in Ecuador. Texaco Petroleum (TexPet), which
became a subsidiary of Chevron in 2001, was a minority partner in an
oil-production consortium in Ecuador along with the state-owned oil
company, Petroecuador, from 1964 to 1992. After TexPet turned its
remaining share of the oil operations over to Petroecuador in 1992,
pursuant to an agreement with Ecuador, TexPet agreed to conduct a
remediation of selected production sites while Petroecuador remained
responsible to perform any remaining cleanup. The government of Ecuador
oversaw and certified the successful completion of TexPet’s remediation
and fully released TexPet from further environmental liability.
Petroecuador, however, failed to conduct the cleanup it promised and has
continued to operate and expand oil operations in the former concession
over the past 20 years.
Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy
companies. Through its subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide, the
company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry.
Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas;
refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants;
manufactures and sells petrochemicals and additives; generates power;
and develops and deploys technologies that enhance business value in
every aspect of the company’s operations. Chevron is based in San Ramon,
Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171101006903/en/
Source: Chevron Corporation
Morgan Crinklaw, 925-842-4204