I’ve written previously about a fraud-ridden, extortionate case brought against Chevron in an Ecuadorean court and masterminded by an American plaintiffs’ lawyer. Readers of Shopfloor will remember that after years of legal drama, the Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay damages of $19 billion, which was later reduced to $9.5 billion. But then a federal court in the United States prevented enforcement of the judgment because the case’s mastermind, attorney Steven Donziger, was found liable for racketeering for using fraudulent and corrupt means to win the case in the first place.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Ecuador has continued to try to seize Chevron’s assets around the world to enforce the judgment of the court where the fraud and bribery took place.
So that’s the backstory. Now the drama continues to unfold, with new claims from NGOs allied with the plaintiffs alleging that a key witness—the Ecuadorian judge in the case—recanted part of his testimony while testifying during arbitration involving Ecuador’s attempt to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada. (A Bloomberg News article clarifies that the witness did not recant, but rather admitted he had lied about HOW MUCH he was offered as a bribe by the plaintiffs.)
If you’re a little confused by now, I don’t blame you. That’s the point. These legal proceedings have now been going on for more than 22 years. They have eaten up valuable financial resources on both sides that could have gone to more productive use. They have not improved the situation in the Amazon one iota.
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