Ecuadorian residents sue Chevron in Canada to enforce $18-bn judgement

Residents of an Amazon rain forest in Ecuador yesterday filed a lawsuit against US oil giant Chevron Corp in Canada, seeking to seize the company assets there in order to enforce an $18-billion judgement they won in a lawsuit in Ecuador for polluting the Amazon basin.

Since Chevron does not have any assets in Ecuador, the lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario to seize the San Ramon, California-based oil giant's shares and assets in Canada in order to enforce the Ecuador judgment.

In the legal saga that has spanned nearly two decades, Chevron was held responsible by an Ecuadorian court in early 2011 for dumping chemical-laden wastewater in the Amazon basin from 1964 to about 1992 by Texaco Inc, which Chevron acquired in 2001.

After an Ecuador appeals court upheld the lower court ruling, the plaintiffs threatened to seize Chevron's assets in foreign countries and freeze its international accounts.

Chevron had previously alleged fraud in the case in which it is also facing accusations of defrauding the Ecuadorean court to hide the scale of the oil contamination.
 
The suit was initially filed in a New York federal court in 1993 against Texaco. Fearing an adverse order, Chevron In 2002 requested that the case be shifted from US federal court to Ecuador.

The trial court in Ecuador had in February 2011, found that Chevron systematically dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rain forest, poisoning waterways that local inhabitants use for drinking. leading to cancer.