QUITO — Plaintiffs have filed suit in Brazil to seize Chevron assets to pay off $18 billion in damages awarded by an Ecuadoran court for damage to the Amazon rain forest, the parties said Thursday.


The claim was filed by Brazilian lawyer Sergio Bermudes on behalf of Ecuadoran Indians in a class suit that was awarded the damages by a court in Sucumbios, Ecuador January 3.

It follows a similar suit filed in Canada in May to go after Chevron assets.

Indigenous groups and local farmers say the US oil firm Texaco contaminated large areas of Ecuador's Amazon jungle when it operated in the region from 1964 to 1990, a decade before being acquired by Chevron.

After years of litigation, an Ecuadorian court in February 2011 ordered the company to pay $18 billion in damages.

Ecuador's supreme court has been reviewing an appeal by Chevron since March.

Chevron denies the allegations, saying the area of the dispute was cleaned up in 1992, and has prevailed in several US courts.

Chevron has accused the Ecuadoran judge who ruled on the case of fraud and breach of trust. It has virtually no assets in Ecuador that could be seized, according to the plaintiffs.