US Chevron CEO ordered to testify in Ecuador case

08 May 2013 00:11  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The CEO of Chevron must give testimony in connection to the $19bn (€14bn) Ecuadorian litigation in which the California-based energy company was found guilty of environmental contamination in the nation's Amazon, a US judge ordered on Tuesday.

An Ecuadorian court had ordered the company to pay billions in compensation and clean-up costs after it was found guilty of dumping wastewater into rivers.

Chevron later rejected the ruling as illegitimate, claiming it cleaned up all waste pits before handing operations to Ecuador’s state-owned oil firm, Petroecuador, which still operates in the area.

Chevron later filed a lawsuit in US District Court, Southern US District, alleging that the judgement was obtained through fraud.

The company sued the plaintiffs from the Ecuadorian litigation, along with their attorneys and consultants.

During the proceedings in New York, the Ecuadorian parties sought the testimony of Chevron CEO John Watson as well as Edward Scott II, general counsel of the company's global upstream and gas group, and Kroll, an investigative and risk management company.

Chevron sought to block Watson's testimony, alleging that the parties were pursuing it to harass the CEO.

The magistrate judge for the case, James Francis IV, rejected Chevron's request.

In his order, Francis said that a witness could be excused from giving testimony only in compelling circumstances. Chevron did not meet that standard, the judge said.

"To be sure, the rancorous history of this litigation lends credibility to Chevron's concern that the deposition has been noticed for purposes of harassment," Francis wrote in the order. "On the other hand, there is little doubt that Mr Watson has relevant knowledge."

Scott and Kroll will also have to testify, Francis said.

Additional reporting by Simon West

($1 = €0.76)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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