U.S. oil giant Chevron, hit in Ecuador with a record $19 billion fine for pollution, asked Monday for the court to consider what it claimed was “new evidence” the judge in the case was corrupt.
In a statement in Quito, the company — which has been castigated by President Rafael Correa for refusing to pay the fine — said it had presented the prosecutor with “4,000 pages of new evidence” concerning the judge’s alleged fraud and breach of trust.
Chevron has never worked directly in Ecuador but inherited the pollution lawsuit when it acquired Texaco in 2001.
Indigenous groups and local farmers says Texaco polluted large areas of Ecuador’s Amazon basin jungle when it operated in the region from 1964 to 1990, a decade before being acquired by Chevron.
After years of litigation, an Ecuadoran court in February 2011 ordered Chevron to pay the massive fine.
Correa — a leftist leader often critical of the US — and his government have since accused Chevron of “intimidation,” “threats” and spreading “disinformation.”
He called for a campaign against the company, inviting celebrities to visit to see the effects of pollution firsthand.
But Chevron insists the environmental damage was caused by the state oil company Petroecuador and that its trial was marred by a corrupt judge.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]