25 December 2013, News Wires -US supermajor Chevron appealed on Monday to Ecuador’s highest court, asking it to cancel a $9.5 billion fine for polluting the Amazon rainforest in a long-running case.
Last month Ecuador’s National Court of Justice upheld a 2011 verdict by a lower court that Chevron was responsible for pollution in the area caused by US oil firm Texaco, whose assets were bought by Chevron in 2001.
Chevron says that 2011 ruling was obtained by fraud and it is pursuing a case in New York against the US lawyer representing the plaintiffs who it says resorted to corruption to win what it calls an “illegitimate” verdict.
“Chevron Corp asked the Constitutional Court of Ecuador today to revoke the fraudulent $9.5 billion sentence against the company because of the multiple violations of constitutional guarantees,” the US company said in a statement cited by Reuters.
Villagers in the remote jungle region say the pollution has harmed their health. Chevron says Texaco cleaned up the area before handing it to Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador, which Chevron says bears the responsibility.
The judge in the 2011 ruling ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion, plus an additional $9.5 billion for refusing to publicly apologise for the pollution. The National Court of Justice halved the fine last month, saying there had been no legal basis to sanction Chevron for not apologising.
Earlier this month, an Ontario appeals court ruled that a group of Ecuadoreans can seek enforcement in Canada of the judgement against Chevron, overturning a lower court decision from earlier in the year.
The plaintiffs traveled to Canada to target what they say are Chevron’s $15 billion worth of assets in that country. The California-based company no longer has any assets in Ecuador.