Rejects Attempt to Enforce Fraudulent Ecuadorian Judgment
SAN RAMON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 23, 2018--
The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a lower Canadian court’s
determination that an Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Corporation,
already found by U.S. courts to have been obtained through fraud and
corruption, cannot be enforced against Chevron Canada Limited, an
indirect subsidiary. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment
dismissing all claims against Chevron Canada Limited holding that it is
a separate entity from Chevron Corporation and its assets are protected
from seizure by those seeking to enforce the corrupt Ecuadorian
judgment. The court rejected the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ arguments as
contrary to fundamental principles of Canadian corporate law.
The Court of Appeal stated: “What is really driving the appellants'
appearance in our courts is their inability to enforce their judgment in
the United States,” where it is has already been found to be the product
of “a massive fraud” that involved both corruption and coercion of
judges. The Court of Appeal continued: “What we are really being invited
to do is to assist the appellants in doing an end-run around the United
States court order by breaking with well-established jurisprudence and
creating an exception to the principle of corporate separateness.”
"The Canadian court’s decision follows rulings by courts in the United
States, Brazil, and Argentina that confirm the fraudulent Ecuadorian
judgment should be unenforceable in any court that respects the rule of
law," said R. Hewitt Pate, vice president and general counsel, Chevron
Corporation. "We are pleased that the Ontario Court of Appeal has
affirmed the trial court’s clear application of legal principles that
show that Chevron Canada Limited is a separate legal entity that cannot
be dragged into this fraudulent litigation.”
Because Chevron Corporation has no assets in Ecuador, the plaintiffs,
led by American lawyer Steven Donziger, are attempting to enforce the
Ecuadorian judgment in other jurisdictions. Donziger and his associates
are seeking to enforce the judgment against both Chevron Corporation,
which has no assets in Canada, and Chevron Canada Limited, which is not
a party to the Ecuadorian lawsuit. Today's decision confirms that they
cannot pursue Chevron Canada Limited's assets.
In its decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal quoted from the 2014 U.S.
federal court decision that found that a judgment issued against Chevron
Corporation by a court in Ecuador was the product of fraud and
racketeering activity including extortion, money laundering, wire fraud,
witness tampering and obstruction of justice. The U.S. court also
prohibited enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment in the United States.
The U.S. federal court judgment is now final after having been
unanimously affirmed by the U.S. court of appeals and denied review by
the Supreme Court.
Since the extent of the fraud scheme was revealed, more than a dozen
former insiders and allies have abandoned Donziger and his scheme,
including his former co-counsel, environmental consultants, funders,
investors, employees and Ecuadorian collaborators.
“Chevron will resist any enforcement effort and seek to hold anyone who
would attempt to profit from the fraudulent judgment accountable to the
full extent of the law,” Pate said.
Any current environmental conditions in the former concession area in
Ecuador are the exclusive responsibility of the Republic of Ecuador and
its national oil company. Chevron Corporation has never operated in
Ecuador. An indirect subsidiary of Texaco Inc. properly carried out a
government-approved and supervised environmental remediation program in
Ecuador after the government took over its minority interest in 1990.
Ecuador’s national oil company has been the exclusive owner and operator
for the past 26 years, significantly expanding operations during that
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: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180523006514/en/
Source: Chevron Corporation
Sean Comey, +1 925-842-5509