Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How A Criminal Conspiracy 
Between Lawyers & Environmental 
Activists Defrauded Chevron
Through A $16 Billion Judgment 

This case has been making it's way through the courts for a number of years.  

The short version: A group of lawyers and environmental activists claimed they had proof supplied by expert witnesses that proved that Chevron's oil drilling and related activity in Ecuador had caused catastrophic damage to the environment going back to the 1970's.  In 2011 an Ecuadoran court found in the plaintiff's favor and awarded them $16 billion in damages.  For the past 3 years the lawyers have sought to have the judgment enforced in the US and tried to compel Chevron to hand over billions of dollars to them. 

Chevron responded to the court's ruling by launching a case of it's own in which it contended that the lawyers & activists suing them had conspired together to present fraudulent evidence, fake expert witnesses, and used bribery in order to obtain that $16 billion judgment. 

Here's how the New York Times reported the original $9 billion judgement against Chevron back in 2011 [The judgment was later increased to $16 billion]

Today US District Judge Lewis Kaplan [Southern District of New York] released his ruling in which he lays out in stunning detail how Chevron proved it's case that it was indeed a victim of an organized fraud.  Kaplan's ruling is over 500 pages long, but he sums up his findings in a 5 page introduction that makes for incredible reading.  

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court, Southern District of NY

The entire ruling can be found here. 

The money quote: 
Click on the picture to see it full size

There is no doubt whatsoever that more than few people are headed for jail if even 1/2 what Judge Kaplan lays out in detail is true.  And lawyer Steven Donziger, as the chief architect of this huge fraud, would certainly be one of the first targets for an indictment. 

Attorney Steven Donziger, whom Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan states led a 
criminal conspiracy to defraud Chevron of billions of dollars. 

 This isn't the biggest environmental damages award ever made - the BP Oil spill's $20 billion is larger - but sure could be the biggest attempt at fraud ever proven in court.  

Nobody should defend an oil company when does it something wrong or causes real damage, such as in the case of the BP Oil Spill or the Exxon Valdez disaster.  But this case where greedy opportunists decided to manufacture a disaster where there wasn't one should give people pause and end the knee-jerk bias that an oil company is always guilty as charged. 

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