Ecuador Orders Chevron to Pay $19 Billion

An Ecuadorian court that has accused Chevron of environmental damage has set a Monday deadline for the US oil firm to pay about $US19 billion ($A18.25 billion) – one billion dollars more than an original order.

Source

The court attorney Juan Pablo Saenz said the plaintiffs could organise embargoes if Chevron does not comply with the order from a court in the northeastern Amazonian province of Sucumbios.

The complaint stems from years of unchecked pollution in the Amazon attributed to Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.

Chevron has called the judgment a “product of bribery, fraud”, saying it is “illegitimate” and not enforceable after plaintiffs filed lawsuits in Canada and Brazil to go after the company’s assets in third countries.

Plaintiffs say Chevron has virtually no assets in Ecuador that could be seized.

According to indigenous groups and local farmers, the US oil firm Texaco contaminated large areas of Ecuador’s Amazon jungle when it operated in the region from 1964 to 1990, a decade before being acquired by Chevron.

After years of litigation, an Ecuadorian court in February 2011 ordered the company to pay $US18 billion in damages, a ruling upheld by Ecuador’s Supreme Court in March.

Chevron, which has appealed the ruling, has accused the Ecuadorian judge who ruled on the case of fraud and breach of trust.

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