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Gustavo Coronel : Chevron's Ecuador drama unfolding

 

In Ecuador, a drama unfolding: Government corruption working against Chevron?

In a new press release given by Chevron Oil Company in connection with the legal action currently in process against the company in Ecuador, its executive vice president Charles James welcomed news that the Prosecutor General of Ecuador would open an investigation of the evidence presented by the company, in which the judge in charge of the case is seen talking about the case in an improper manner, suggesting fraudulent behavior, and in which Mr. Alexis Mera, a legal advisor to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, is mentioned as playing a role in the maneuvers surrounding the action against the oil company.

Mr. Mera has already said that the videos presented by Chevron “have no legal value”. Not being lawyers we cannot argue that statement but, on purely ethical considerations, we think the case against Chevron in Ecuador already shows solid evidence of legal and government corruption. Confronted with the video evidence the judge of the cause, Mr. Juan Nuñez, has already recused himself. This is fine but is hardly the answer to the underlying problem. What has emerged, so far, is a strong indication that the whole action against Chevron has been ill founded and that the decisions of the judge should be rendered null and void.

We have completed a detailed analysis of this case, which will be published soon, and find the manner in which the Court expert was named and the qualifications of this expert totally divorced from proper legal and ethical procedures and standards. We have also found that President Correa has intervened grossly in this case, in favor of the plaintiffs. The new evidence presented by Chevron corroborates my assumptions.

President Correa could be facing a very serious legal and political crisis due to his unhealthy association with this case.

 

Gustavo Coronel is a 28 years oil industry veteran, a member of the first board of directors (1975-1979) of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), author of several books. At the present Coronel is Petroleumworld associate editor and advisor on the opinion and editorial content of the site. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.

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Petroleumworld News 09/07/03

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