Caso Chevron

Latest Twist In Chevron-Ecuador Fight Focuses On Key Witness

The Wall Street Journal - Nicole Hong 05/11/2015

Photo: The Wall Street Journal

Photo: The Wall Street Journal

The plaintiffs’ lawyer who lost a major court battle last year against Chevron Corp.CVX -2.29% over a $9.5 billion environmental-damage award is making his latest legal bid by notifying an appeals court that a key witness who testified for the oil giant wasn’t telling the truth.

A brief recap first: in 2011, after years of litigation, a court in Ecuador found Chevron liable for environmental damage in Ecuador and awarded $19 billion — later reduced to $9.5 billion — to the villagers who sued the company. Chevron refused to pay and instead sued New York lawyer Steven Donziger, who led the villagers’ legal team, accusing him of obtaining the award through bribery and corruption.

After a civil trial in Manhattan, a federal district judge last year sided with Chevron, determining that the award was tainted by fraud and that Mr. Donziger and his team could not profit from the award anywhere in the world.

That verdict is currently on appeal with the 2nd Circuit, and Mr. Donziger has denied wrongdoing.

In a new filing to the appeals judges Thursday, Mr. Donziger’s lawyers say that “new developments cast grave doubt on the truth of those fraud allegations.” Alberto Guerra, a key Chevron witness during the trial, “has now admitted that he lied on the witness stand in New York,” the filing says.

Chevron says that the plaintiffs are mischaracterizing the significance of the transcripts and that all of Mr. Guerra’s original testimony was backed up with other evidence. The company says Mr. Guerra was not a “star witness” and that many other expert witnesses testified to Mr. Donziger’s alleged corruption during the trial.

Mr. Guerra, a former Ecuadorean judge, had previously testified that he was paid $1,000 a month to ghostwrite rulings that favored the plaintiffs and ultimately led to the $19 billion judgment against Chevron. He also said he brokered a deal with Mr. Donziger’s team to pay another judge $500,000 to sway the judgment in their favor, a charge that Mr. Donziger has vehemently denied.

Read more

Fuente Original