Caso Chevron

Peter Foster: Up the Amazon without a legal paddle

Financial Post - Peter Foster 16/08/2016

The Canadian justice system now appears to be the last hope for the rancid US$9.5 billion claim for environmental damage against Chevron Corporation by the Ecuadorian court system.

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed a lower court finding that the claim, masterminded by lawyer Steven Donziger, a Harvard law classmate of Barack Obama, was the product of fraud and racketeering.

Donziger is now beginning to look like the Black Knight in the Monty Python movie who has had all his limbs hacked off but claims that it’s “just a flesh wound.”

However, he and his dwindling round table of backers are also still pursuing their payday in Canada, where the Ecuadorean government has been wooing trade unionists and aboriginal groups, and inciting the kind of people who only need to hear the words “big corporation,” “poor native villagers” and “rainforest” to fire up the websites and pull out the placards.

The case is based on the operations of Texaco – which was subsequently acquired by California-based Chevron – in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992. When Texaco’s partner, state oil company Petroecuador, acquired Texaco’s operations, Texaco paid for environmental remediation, and was released by the government from further liability. Petroecuador continued to make a mess in the area, and the whole mess formed the basis of Donziger’s suit on behalf of affected “villagers.” The case became a predictable cause celebre for environmental radicals and Hollywood has-beens.

In many such cases, particularly when they are fighting governments, corporations cut a deal, however weak the case against them. In this case, Chevron famously vowed to fight until hell froze over, then fight it on the ice.

In 2014, a New York court found Donziger to have violated the federal racketeering act. Chevron lawyers demonstrated without rebuttal that Donziger had fabricated environmental evidence, pressured scientific experts to falsify reports, plotted to intimidate judges, bribed court-appointed experts, ghostwritten court reports and even drafted the judgment.

The higher court has backed these findings. Donziger has also suffered legal defeats in Brazil and Gibraltar, so Canada, where the case washed up in 2013, is now his faint hope.

An Ontario judge originally ruled that Chevron had no case to answer. However, that decision was appealed and last September the Supreme Court of Canada allowed it to proceed, although that decision said nothing about the merits of the case.

Donziger claimed at a press conference in Spanish last week that the Canadian Supreme Court had sympathy with his natives, and understood Chevron’s “abuses,” which is simply untrue.

Hearings are due back in Ontario next month, but again not on the merits of the case but whether judgment can be sought against Chevron’s Canadian subsidiary. Chevron is looking for summary dismissal.

This case has been stranger-than-fiction from the start. Donziger was effectively taken down by his own ego, when he allowed his extra-legal campaign to be filmed for a documentary titled “Crude.” Chevron got access to the outtakes, which showed Donziger suggesting that it was the “birthright” of Ecuadoran judges to be corrupt, and that a judge’s fear of assassination might be useful.

Recently Wikileaked emails (somewhat ironic given that Wikileak founder Julian Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London) revealed the direct involvement of autocratic president Rafael Correa in the U.S.-based “Dirty Hand of Chevron” campaign, which sought to recruit celebrities to tour what Donziger had dubbed the “Chernobyl of the Amazon.” Correa was frustrated that only B-listers such as Bianca Jagger signed on.

No attempt appears to have been made to recruit Canadian celebrities (surely Naomi Klein would have been available), but Ecuador managed to get a delegation from the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, UFCW, to tour and demonstrate solidarity. Ecuador has also been reaching out to Canadian aboriginal groups opposed to domestic oil pipelines.

Correa is no stranger to blackmail. Several years ago he said that if the “international community” did not come up with US$3.6 billion he would have to drill for oil in the country’s Yasuni Amazonian nature reserve. Perhaps he was inspired by National Lampoon’s classic 1973 cover: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” Still, Correa was true to his word. Nobody paid up, so he set about drilling.

Another set of leaks revealed that Ecuador had spied on environmental opponents of drilling at Yasuni, and that Correa has used terms such as “stupid lefty” to describe them, as opposed, presumably, to the stupid lefties he seeks to recruit against Chevron.

In Canada, the Ecuadorian case is being pursued by well-regarded lawyer Alan Lenczner, who has been on the Dirty Hands tour and suggested that Chevron might pay up because, after all, what’s a few billion to such a rich company?

Last week’s U.S. court decision has been framed by Donziger’s defenders and radical allies as an example of U.S. legal “imperialism,” or dark corporate power, or all about putting profits before people.

As far as Canada is concerned, the main reason to hope that this case gets tossed out is that otherwise every corrupt regime and corporate shake down artist in the world will look to clog up the Canadian system with their smelliest cases.

Fuente Original
  • Últimas Noticias

  • 24/05/19 El Oriente

    Noticiero El Oriente Ecuador 24-05-19

    El Oriente

    El Chontacuro, obtenido de las palmas de la chonta, no solo es apetecido para curar males respiratorios y otras enfermedades estacionales, sino también lo acompañan – vivos o cocinados – en diversos platos típicos de la selva.

  • 24/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    2 años de Gobierno

    El Comercio

    Hace dos años, Lenín Moreno llegó con el correísmo pero decidió distanciarse de él. Y demostró que no se trataba de un tema de estilo o de discurso.

  • 24/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Inversión en central Toachi totaliza USD 859 millones

    El Comercio

    Tras dos años y tres meses de que los trabajos en la central hidroeléctrica Toachi-Pilatón se paralizaran, el Gobierno firmó el pasado 23 de mayo de 2019 un nuevo contrato para concluir con las obras pendientes en este megaproyecto energético.

  • 24/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Un gobierno de diálogo y lucha contra la corrupción

    El Telégrafo Patricio Carrera

    Ecuador retoma de a poco su identidad pacífica luego de una época autoritaria que intentó imponer un punto de vista y que generó violencia política y corrupción.

  • 24/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Moreno viajará a Perú a cita presidencial andina

    Expreso Alfonso Albán

    La cita, que conmemorará los 50 años de la Comunidad Andina (CAN), tendrá como sede el Palacio de Gobierno de Perú.

  • 24/05/19 El Oriente

    Comité de Carchi posterga paro y da nueva pórroga al Gobierno

    El Universo

    El Comité Cívico del Carchi decidió aplazar el paro anunciado para este domingo y  dar un plazo de 30 días para que el Gobierno cumpla con las demandas planteadas. 

  • 24/05/19 Caso Chevron

    La defensa de Ecuador sufre otro revés por Chevron

    Expreso Javier Montenegro

    Para Chevron es un triunfo. Según comunicó la petrolera transnacional este 23 de mayo, la Corte de Justicia de New York multó al abogado Steven Donziger por desacato. El jurista, en 2011, ganó un juicio de 18.000 millones de dólares - que luego se redujo a 9.500 millones de dólares, en contra de la empresa por la contaminación ambiental generada en el Oriente ecuatoriano hasta 1992.

  • 24/05/19 Caso Chevron

    Donziger Held In Contempt In $9.5B Chevron Ecuador Fight

    Law 360

    A New York federal court on Thursday imposed sanctions on suspended attorney Steven Donziger, who helped secure a fraudulent $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in Ecuador, saying Donziger had blatantly ignored the court's orders forbidding him from profiting from the award.

  • 23/05/19 Caso Chevron

    Steven Donziger, Disbarred Former Attorney, Is Held in Contempt of Court

    Forbes Michael I. Krauss

    I've detailed the civil contempt of court motion against Steven Donziger in prior columns. So it's very pleasing to read United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan's remarkable, 75-page, contempt of court ruling. It begins with these words: "Steven Donziger, formerly a lawyer, has led a corrupt effort to extort billions of dollars from Chevron Corporation."

  • 23/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Comisión quiere llevar a la Fiscalía la investigación del caso Assange

    El Telégrafo

    Julian Assange, al parecer, se mostró como un minucioso conocedor de la historia, geografía y cívica ecuatoriana en su examen para su naturalización.

  • 23/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Ecuador y Estados Unidos firman seis acuerdos de cooperación y se compromenten a reunirse anualmente

    El Universo

    Patrimonio cultural, combate al narcotráfico y la delincuencia transnacional, seguridad, educación, infraestructura y préstamos hipotecarios son los acuerdos de cooperación firmados.

  • 23/05/19 El Oriente

    Siete bloques petroleros licitados por 24 años

    Expreso Sebastián Angulo

    Una cuantiosa inversión. Eso espera el Gobierno luego de la licitación de siete bloques petroleros ubicados en la provincia de Sucumbíos a través de la denominada Ronda Intracamos, cuyos contratos fueron firmados ayer.

  • 23/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Una política sazonada con tensión y sorpresas

    Expreso

    Los ingredientes de las decisiones en los últimos dos años. Venezuela, Julian Assange, cambios de vicepresidente y otros.

  • 23/05/19 El Oriente

    La Amazonía abre su mundo mágico al turismo

    La Hora

    En este feriado, los ecuatorianos tienen una nueva oportunidad de disfrutar de la naturaleza y las maravillas que se encuentran y descubren en la Amazonía, una zona llena de secretos, misterios, leyendas y, sobre todo, una rica biodiversidad.

  • 23/05/19 El Oriente

    Delimitación física y cartografía de zona intangible del Yasuní estará en 180 días

    El Telégrafo

    A través del Decreto Ejecutivo 751 firmado el martes por el presidente de la República, Lenín Moreno, se incrementa el área protegida del Parque Nacional Yasuní de 758.051 hectáreas a 818.501,42 hectáreas, en favor de los pueblos en aislamiento.

  • 23/05/19 El Oriente

    Avanza la Minería en la Cordillera del Cóndor

    Vistazo Alejandro Pérez

    Dos proyectos están a punto de inaugurar la minería a gran escala sobre la poco explorada Cordillera del Cóndor. Un bosque amazónico único, lleno de especies endémicas y donde habitan comunidades indígenas; mientras su subsuelo oculta miles de millones de dólares en cobre, oro y plata. Minería y gran biodiversidad en un mismo lugar hacen que sea una zona llena de conflictos socio-ambientales.

  • 23/05/19 El Oriente

    Taxista de Puyo devolvió 5.000 dólares a una pasajera

    El Universo

    La acción de un taxista asombró a los habitantes de la ciudad amazónica de Puyo (Pastaza), luego de que buscara afanosamente hasta encontrar a una pasajera que dejó olvidada una mochila que luego se supo contenía 5 mil dólares.

  • 22/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Millonario perjuicio al Fisco vinculado a caso 'Arroz Verde'

    El Comercio

    A través de múltiples controles, SRI detectó aproximadamente USD 39 millones correspondientes a impuestos no cancelados por contribuyentes vinculados al caso.

  • 22/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    María Alejandra Vicuña va a juicio

    La Hora

    La Fiscalía presentó suficientes elementos de convicción para que la exvicepresidenta María Alejandra Vicuña sea llamada a juicio como presunta autora del delito de concusión.

  • 22/05/19 Ecuador en las Noticias

    Fiscalía investiga agresión a Trujillo

    Expreso

    Mediante un comunicado, la Fiscalía inicia una investigación previa en el caso del expresidente del CPCCS.