QUITO, ECUADOR: Oil giant Chevron on Monday was fined with over $8 billion by an Ecuadorian court for Amazon pollution, El Tiempo newspaper reported.
Judge Nicolas Zambrano ordered the U.S. oil company to pay $8.2 billion for the environmental damage caused by Texaco between 1964 and 1990 in Ecuador's Amazon Rivers.
Texaco was later acquired by Chevron in 2001. An investigation team designated by Court determined that the cleaning costs and the damage compensation were approximately $27 billion. Chevron claimed that such report was not objective.
In a statement issued on Monday, the U.S. oil company labeled the court's ruling as illegitimate and unenforceable. Chevron added that the judgment was a product of fraud and contrary to legitimate scientific evidence.
"Chevron will appeal this decision in Ecuador and intends to see that justice prevails. Chevron does not believe that today's judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law," the company added.
Chevron has taken steps in United States and international tribunals to bar enforcement of the Ecuadorian ruling and to hold the perpetrators of this fraud for their misconduct.
Last week, a New York court issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants from receiving benefit from, directly or indirectly, any action, or proceeding for recognition or enforcement of any judgment entered against Chevron in Ecuador.
On February 9, an international panel of arbitrators presiding in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ordered Ecuador to take all measures at its disposal to suspend or cause to be suspended the enforcement or recognition within and without Ecuador of any judgment against Chevron in the Lago Agrio case pending further order or award from the international tribunal.
The two courts' decisions took place after Chevron filed a civil lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against the trial lawyers and consultants leading a fraudulent litigation and public relations campaign against the oil giant.
The Lago Agrio trial began in 2003 after an U.S. appeals court ruled that the case should be heard in Ecuador. The South American country accuses Texaco of dumping more than 68 billion liters of toxic materials into the Amazon's unlined pits and rivers. The defendants demanded a $113 billion payment in compensation.
(BNO NEWS )