UK litigation financer renounces interest in Chevron-Ecuador case

17 April 2013 21:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--UK litigation financer Burford Capital has renounced interest in funding ongoing legal action involving Ecuador and a $19bn (€14bn) judgement against US oil giant Chevron, the two companies announced on Wednesday.

Burford Capital cited being defrauded into joining the fray on the plaintiffs’ side.

"Burford stands by its clients in the face of aggressive litigation tactics by their opponents, but Burford does not sit still for being deceived or defrauded and has no interest in profiting from such conduct,” said Christopher Bogart, Burford’s CEO.

Through subsidiaries, Burford had agreed in 2010 to provide financing to the Washington, DC-based Patton Boggs law firm in connection with its entry into the litigation.

But documents produced during the litigation and released by Chevron and Burford on Wednesday show that Burford voluntarily terminated its financing agreement in 2011 due to claims that it had been misled in connection with entering into the agreement.

The Patton Boggs law firm entered the case just before the February 2011 verdict by an Ecuadorian judge that said Chevron must pay $18.2bn (since raised to $19bn) to pay for pollution damage that occurred when Texaco – which Chevron acquired in 2001 – produced oil there from the mid-1960s to 1990. Chevron is challenging the verdict.

Patton Boggs came in to help lead plaintiffs attorney Steven Donzinger try to enforce the Ecuadorian verdict in other countries such as Canada and Brazil.

"Chevron believes that Burford has acted responsibly after becoming aware of the fraud, bribery and extortion perpetrated here, and Chevron is pleased that Burford has taken this further action of disclaiming any interest in this matter,” said Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel.

Patton Boggs did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Chevron-Ecuador case has played host to a series of legal jostling in recent months.

Earlier this month, experts working for a US-based consultancy company, whose work helped bring about the verdict against Chevron, filed testimonies disavowing their previous findings that formed the basis of the judgement. Also, the Ecuadorian judge who issued the verdict rejected claims made by another judge that he accepted thousands of dollars to orchestrate a false judgement against the US-based energy company.

In February, an international tribunal at The Hague ruled that Ecuador breached the body’s prior rulings by not preventing the attempted enforcement of the judgement.

($1 = €0.76)


By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653



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