Thursday, 1 April 2010

Chevron win $700m damages

The Ecuadorian government will fight an arbitration ruling forcing them to pay Chevron $700 million in damages over trade disputes surrounding the company's past operations in the country.

The claim regards delays by Ecuador to settle contract disputes with Texaco in the '90s and is not to be confused with an ongoing arbitration case seeking to scupper a $27 billion lawsuit brought by the people of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Chevron bought Texaco in 2001 inheriting a legacy of widespread ecological devastation wrought by the oil giant, an act which is likely to wipe a fifth off its market value should an impending judgement rule in favour of the thousands of people affected by the toxic waste pits left in the rainforest around Lago Agrio.

Ecuador's attorney-general, Diego Garcia, said the arbitration case is: "a well orchestrated strategy by Chevron to evade its responsibilities ahead of the Ecuadorean courts’ eventual adverse decision for its possible responsibility in the destruction of the environment,”

There has been no statement yet from campaigners fighting the remediation lawsuit which Chevron recently gained permission to take to international arbitration in the Hague.

Yesterday's arbitration ruling demands Ecuador pay Chevron pay damages backdated to Dec 22, 2006 but this may be diminished by as much as 87%, according to Garcia, because of back taxes related to the contracts.

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