U.S. trial ends over Ecuador pollution judgment against Chevron

THE AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN’S VOICE-29/11/2013

U.S. trial ends over Ecuador pollution judgment against Chevron

Oil workers clean up a contaminated pool in Taracoa December 10, 2007. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

Oil workers clean up a contaminated pool in Taracoa December 10, 2007.

CREDIT: REUTERS/GUILLERMO GRANJA

An attorney for Chevron Corp on Tuesday accused U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger of orchestrating an international criminal conspiracy by using bribery and fraud in Ecuador to secure a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment against the oil company.

“It was a scheme so audacious, so bold, that it would make even a Mafia boss blush,” lawyer Randy Mastro said during his closing argument before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the non-jury trial.

Lawyers for the defense said Chevron had failed to prove Donziger’s involvement in any conspiracy.

“Raw accusations and allegations are not proof,” said Zoe Littlepage, a lawyer for Donziger. “Steven Donziger may be a jerk. That’s not a crime.”

The six-week trial concerned an $18 billion judgment issued in 2011 against Chevron by Judge Nicolas Zambrano in Ecuador. The ruling was in favor of a group of villagers, who claimed Texaco had contaminated an oil field in northeastern Ecuador between 1964 and 1992. This month, Ecuador’s Supreme Court cut the amount to $9.5 billion.

Chevron, which later acquired Texaco, has said Texaco remediated the site before closing operations. The company hopes a verdict from Kaplan that the judgment was based on fraud will help it defend against attempts to enforce the judgment outside Ecuador.

Kaplan will not render a decision right away; the two sides will submit post-trial briefs over the next couple of months.

During the trial, Chevron submitted reams of documents, including Donziger’s private notebook. The company also called more than a dozen witnesses, including linguistics, psychology and computer experts who testified that Zambrano could not possibly have authored the judgment without assistance.

JUDGE VERSUS JUDGE

But the case could come down to whether Kaplan chooses to believe Zambrano, who said on the stand that he wrote the decision alone, or another former Ecuadorean judge, Alberto Guerra, who testified that Donziger’s side paid him to ghost-write Zambrano’s opinion.

Guerra, perhaps the key trial witness, said Donziger was aware of the bribes, while Donziger said during his own testimony that he rejected a solicitation for bribes by Guerra.

Mastro pointed to sections of Zambrano’s opinion that appeared to be lifted word-for-word from internal documents held by Donziger’s team in Ecuador, complete with the occasional error.

“It’s like fingerprints,” he said. He also pointed to records that showed money withdrawn from an account used by Donziger’s team and funds in the same amounts deposited into Guerra’s own account soon after.

But Littlepage said Chevron’s entire case came down to the word of a witness, Guerra, who simply cannot be credited.

“It is based on the testimony of a single witness, an admitted liar, and one whose story has changed many times,” she said.

Mastro also pointed to evidence that an independent expert appointed by the Ecuadorean court to assess Chevron’s liability was secretly compensated by Donziger’s team and had much of his report ghost-written by a consulting firm hired by Donziger.

Littlepage, however, said that Zambrano specifically threw out the report before issuing his opinion and that two appellate courts in Ecuador had since upheld the judgment without reference to the report.

Without a causal connection between the report and any alleged harm to Chevron, she said, Chevron cannot pursue fraud claims based on the report as a matter of law.

In the end, the two sides offered sharply divergent portraits of Donziger. Richard Friedman, one of his lawyers, said Donziger deserved enormous credit for shedding light on how U.S. corporations treat “Third World countries.”

But Mastro said Donziger had “shamed our profession” by lying, obstructing justice and ignoring the rule of law.

“Lawyers don’t do these things,” he said. “Criminals do.”

The case is Chevron Corp v. Steven Donziger et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-0691.

Source: Reuters

 

Reuters señala que canales de venta de crudo del país llegarían a Chevron

La agencia internacional de noticias Reuters presentó un reporte el miércoles pasado en el que señala que envíos diarios de petróleo, valorados en unos $ 6 millones, que realizó la empresa intermediaria Taurus a California, fueron vendidos a clientes como Chevron.

Parte del petróleo vendido a Chevron presuntamente tendría origen ecuatoriano, según el reporte, que señala que “durante los últimos cuatro años, Taurus ha tenido un rol clave en la venta de petróleo de Ecuador en la costa oeste de EE.UU.”.

Según un análisis de Reuters con base en datos de importaciones recabados por el grupo de inteligencia portuaria Piers, los envíos de Taurus representaron casi un 10% de las importaciones de petróleo de California en los primeros nueve meses del 2013. El petróleo de Ecuador –que en gran medida es manejado por socios privados de PetroChina– representa un 17% de las importaciones de crudo de la costa oeste de EE.UU., de 1 millón de barriles de petróleo diario (bpd) este año, dice el reporte.

También señaló que solo Arabia Saudita y Canadá aportan mayor cantidad.

En la versión en inglés, Reuters aseguró que “en meses recientes, otra compañía parece haber suplantado a Taurus como un proveedor del petróleo ecuatoriano a California, por razones desconocidas”.

Agrega que según los datos de Piers, el último cargamento de Taurus que llegó a California a una refinería de Chevron, fue el 26 de septiembre.

Reuters recordó que el presidente de la República, Rafael Correa, ha calificado a Chevron como “un enemigo”. Actualmente, Ecuador lleva adelante una campaña denominada “La mano sucia de Chevron”.

“El gigante petrolero estadounidense está en medio de un proceso legal contra demandantes ecuatorianos por la presunta contaminación en décadas pasadas de Texaco, adquirida por Chevron en el 2001. Este mes, la Corte de Ecuador ratificó el fallo contra Chevron, que ordenó a la empresa el pago de una multa de $ 9.500 millones”, señala Reuters.

La agencia aseguró que parte del petróleo ecuatoriano que Taurus vendió en California llegó vía Panamá, donde barcos cargados con crudo asignados a PetroChina y a Ursa a veces trasladaron su carga a otros tanqueros, según datos de seguimiento de envíos de Reuters.

En el reporte se indica que Chevron no quiso hablar sobre las compras de petróleo.

Según Reuters, Nilsen Arias, gerente de Comercio Internacional de EP Petroecuador, refirió por teléfono que lo que hagan las firmas chinas con el petróleo luego de que asuman su propiedad no es asunto de Petroecuador. “Nosotros vendemos a libre destino”, indicó.

El canciller Ricardo Patiño dijo a este Diario, el martes pasado: “Los negocios que se hagan a nivel internacional, nosotros no podemos calificarlos de legales o ilegales”. También que Ecuador ha pedido a la gente dejar de comprar los productos de Chevron, pero aseguró: “Yo no puedo juzgar ni conocer con detalle los negocios que puedan tener las empresas con las que tenemos relaciones… Tenemos transacciones con muchas empresas y si estas después tienen negocios con otras, no es un asunto que podamos controlar, ni juzgar”.

18 millones 
De galones de desechos dejó chevron-texaco como pasivos ambientales.

Destino: Reporte
Estados Unidos

Al menos 214.000 bpd de crudo ecuatoriano entregado a China fueron a EE.UU., donde muchas refinerías están configuradas para procesar petróleo pesado, anota Reuters.

China
La agencia de prensa agrega que según el BCE, menos del 2% del crudo ecuatoriano fue a China en el 2º trimestre.

 Source: Reuters

 

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Frank Brouwer

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

 

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 29 November, 2013.

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