'Lone gunman' prosecutor goes big exec hunting
That comes on the heels of a suit brought by a federal prosecutor in Rio, who, according to the Financial Times, is suing Chevron and contractor Transocean for $11 billion in damages relating to two oil spills. And as we reported in our last issue (see The Global Legal Post, 30 March 2012, p7), that prosecutor is demanding prison sentences for 17 senior Chevron employees, including the company’s local head, George Buck.
Forbes magazine names the ‘lone gunman’ prosecutor as Eduardo Santos de Oliveira, pointing out that he has more than Chevron in his sights. ‘He is also investigating the National Petroleum Agency and even the Environmental Institute of Brazil, Ibama, which oversaw and later fined Chevron for the spill,’ reports the magazine.
The FT maintains that some Brazilian politicians are becoming wary of the prosecutor’s tactics. The newspaper says many describe ‘the accusations as … “excessive” and “without merit”. Not only was the leak relatively small at no more than 3,000 barrels, but no oil reached the coastline and there has been no evidence of environmental damage.’
With legal action very much up in the air, one point is clear in the saga: it is the only story that currently brings a smile to the faces of BP executives.