Ecuador court rejects Chevron's appeal against $18-bn verdict

Chevron Corp's bid to get a $18-billion judgment against it overturned came a cropper as an Ecuador appeals court rejected its appeal in a lawsuit alleging the company was responsible for chemicals spilled in the Amazon River basin more than 20 years ago.

The ''adverse ruling'' upholding the lower-court judgment was issued by a panel of three judges in the Provincial Court of justice of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Chevron went into appeal against a ruling that held it responsible for chemical-laden wastewater dumped in jungle land from 1964 to about 1992 by Texaco Inc, which Chevron acquired in 2001.

The ''decision is another glaring example of the politicisation and corruption of Ecuador's judiciary that has plagued this fraudulent case from the start,'' Chevron said in its statement. It added it ''does not believe that the Ecuador ruling is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law.''

The appeals court upheld the February ruling ''in all of its parts, including the conviction for moral reparation or its alternative and costs,'' according to the ruling.

Chevron is still reviewing the decision though it has yet to  decide on the future course of action according to Kent Robertson, a spokesman for the San Ramon, California-based company, who spoke to Bloomberg in a phone interview.