Argentine judge embargoes $19 bn Chevron assets

Nov 08 2012, 11:12 IST
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An Argentine judge has embargoed up to $19 billion in Chevron assets in connection with an environmental lawsuit. (Reuters) An Argentine judge has embargoed up to $19 billion in Chevron assets in connection with an environmental lawsuit. (Reuters)
SummaryAn Argentine judge has embargoed up to $19 billion in Chevron assets in connection with an environmental lawsuit.

not have the authority to stop courts in other countries from enforcing the judgment. Chevron appealed the decision, but the U.S. supreme court rejected the appeal in October.

LONG LEGAL FIGHT

Filled with intrigue, accusations of corruption, bribery and dirty tricks, the complicated case has been fought for nearly two decades, mainly in courts in Ecuador and the United States.

Chevron filed for arbitration in 2009, accusing Ecuador of violating a treaty with the United States requiring the OPEC-member country to guarantee Chevron a fair trial.

The company has also accused the plaintiffs, their legal team and their advisers of fraud in a U.S. court. The trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 15, 2013.

The plaintiffs from villages in the oil-rich Amazon won an $18.2 billion case against the oil giant over claims that Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, contaminated the area from 1964 to 1992.

Their legal team argues that Texaco's remediation efforts were insufficient. Their long- erm legal adviser, Steven Donziger, has also filed counter claims in a U.S. court accusing Chevron of fraud.

The claimants' lawyers estimate that Chevron's assets in Argentina are worth around $2 billion and that they could obtain some $600 million a year if the embargo is enforced. In September, Chevron signed an accord with state-controlled YPF, Argentina's No. 1 energy company, to consider a joint exploration project.

Chevron argues that the company has no direct assets in Argentina because its operations in the country are conducted by subsidiaries.

Plaintiffs' lawyers have no legal right to embargo subsidiary assets in Argentina and should not be allowed to disrupt Argentina's pursuit of its important energy resources, Chevron said.

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