Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ecuador Indicts Chevron Lawyers

In a new twist in the historic lawsuit brought by residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon against Chevron-Texaco, Ecuador's prosecutor general has charged Texaco's lawyers--Ricardo Reis Veiga and Rodrigo Perez Pallares--with criminal fraud.

The prosecutor charges that representatives of the Ecuadorian government and Texaco knowingly lied in certifying that the company (acquired by Chevron in 2001) had cleaned up sites contaminated during decades of oil exploitation. The indictment names 7 others who took part in the release agreement on either the government or Texaco's behalf.

If proven, the charge repudiates Chevron's central defense: that a 1998 agreement with the Ecuadorian government certifying the cleanup of contaminated sites freed them from all future legal liability.

Amazon residents have long contended that this cleanup was a total fraud. After personally visiting supposedly remediated sites, I would be inclined to agree.

Chevron is accusing the Ecuadorian government of intervening in the case. This charge smells like BS for a few reasons. First, these indictments are the culmination of years of fraud allegations. Second, the plaintiffs neither want nor need government intervention. The case is doing just fine on its legal merits.

Photos: Chevron CEO David O'Reilly has some explaining to do

Also, check out my Free Speech Radio News Story on the lawsuit.

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