(AFP) – Aug 4, 2012
QUITO — An Ecuadoran court has ordered US oil firm Chevron to pay some $19 billion -- a billion dollars more than an original order -- by Monday for environmental damage.
Attorney Juan Pablo Saenz said the plaintiffs could organize embargoes if Chevron does not comply with the order from a court in the northeastern Amazonian province of Sucumbios.
The complaint stems from years of unchecked pollution in the Amazon attributed to Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.
Chevron has called the judgement a "product of bribery, fraud," saying it was "illegitimate" and not enforceable after plaintiffs filed lawsuits in Canada and Brazil to go after the company's assets in third countries.
Plaintiffs say Chevron has virtually no assets in Ecuador that could be seized.
The US oil firm Texaco contaminated large areas of Ecuador's Amazon jungle when it operated in the region from 1964 to 1990, a decade before being acquired by Chevron, according to indigenous groups and local farmers.
After years of litigation, an Ecuadoran court in February 2011 ordered the company to pay $18 billion in damages, a ruling upheld by Ecuador's Supreme Court in March.
Chevron, which has appealed the ruling, has accused the Ecuadorian judge who ruled on the case of fraud and breach of trust.
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