Chevron in Ecuador: This Starts to Explain the $27 Billion Figure

By February 9, 2010Briefly Legal, Energy

A news release from Chevron today provides more compelling evidence that the activist/trial lawyer/Ecuadorian government’s legal shakedown of the company is based on falsehoods and naked self-interest and can only succeed where the rule of law is absent. From “Court Appointee in Chevron Ecuador Lawsuit Tied to Ecuador State-Owned Oil Company“:

SAN RAMON, Calif., Feb. 9, 2010 – In a court filing today in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) provided newly discovered information showing that the author of a report recommending that Chevron be ordered to pay $27 billion in damages is the majority owner of an oilfield remediation company that stands to gain financially from a judgment against Chevron. Due to the remediation company’s relationship with Ecuador’s state-owned oil company, Petroecuador, Chevron called upon the court to immediately reject the work of Richard Cabrera on the grounds that he knowingly hid his relationship and that he stands to gain from what was supposed to be unbiased work for the court.

“For three years, Mr. Cabrera has concealed clear financial conflicts of interest that disqualify him from acting as an independent and objective evaluator of the evidence in the case,” Chevron Vice President and General Counsel Hewitt Pate said. “While Mr. Cabrera’s financial interests alone are sufficient grounds for his report to be rejected, his intentional concealment of those interests further demonstrates that the entirety of his work lacks honesty, integrity, or credibility.”

Recently uncovered records, from 2003 through 2008, show Cabrera is co-founder, general manager, majority stockholder, and legal representative of an oilfield remediation company, Compañía Ambiental Minera-Petrolera S.A. (“CAMPET”), which is registered to perform oilfield remediation and other services for Petroecuador. Cabrera failed to disclose these business interests as required by law.

That’s just the start of a very detailed dissection of Cabrera’s self-interest, explaining how he could reach the fantastical figure of $27 billion in damages against Chevron for previous operations of Texaco in Ecuador. The bigger the pot, the bigger the payout for Sr. Cabrera.

And for the Amazon Defense Front, which also happens to be guiding and rewarding Cabrera. Chevron had previously documented that:

  • The Amazon Defense Front, the named financial beneficiary of the lawsuit, directly and improperly paid Cabrera more than $200,000 for his work;
  • Sections of Cabrera’s $27 billion claim are copied word-for-word from documents written by Amazon Defense Front lawyers;
  • Photographs and video show representatives of the Amazon Defense Front conducting Cabrera’s field work as well as preparing soil and water samples for Cabrera, who had promised to carry out his work independently;

The Amazon Defense Front and its PR flacks — doing the work of the U.S. trial lawyers — like to accuse the critics of their shakedown of conducting “dirty tricks.” But the facts keep showing that the dirty tricks of the trade are really the tools of the anti-Chevron campaigners.

Join the discussion One Comment

Leave a Reply