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Chevron edges away from liability on $19 billion pollution suit

By Neasa MacErlean

24 September 2013 at 01:31 BST

US oil giant Chevron has won an interim ruling which could see it escape a US$ 19 billion compensation bill in Ecuador.

Ecuador Ammit Jack

A three-person international arbitration panel, based in the Hague, has  now given an interim judgement , saying that the proceedings brought by the state of Ecuador had no legal basis as the country had released the company from liability in the 1990s.

Two decades

The claim has been going on since 1993 when American lawyer, Steven Donziger, filed a suit in New York on behalf of residents in an Ecuadorian rainforest who claimed that their area had been polluted by Texaco. Texaco was later taken over by Chevron. In the past two decades other suits have been brought and there were also accusations - which he denied - that Mr Donziger had used bribery and coercion to further the cause, according to Bloomberg Businessweek

The latest ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague means, according to Chevron's general counsel Hewitt Pate that the 'game is up'. He said: 'What this eminent international tribunal has said is what we’ve been saying all along: There was no basis for the lawsuit in the first place. End of story.'


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