NEW YORK, March 4 An American lawyer used
"corrupt means" to secure a multibillion-dollar pollution
judgment against Chevron Corp in Ecuador, a U.S. judge
ruled on Tuesday, handing the oil company a major victory
following a six-week trial last year.
In a nearly 500-page decision, U.S. District Judge Lewis
Kaplan in New York said he had found "clear and convincing
evidence" that attorney Steven Donziger's legal team bribed an
Ecuadorean judge to issue an $18 billion judgment in 2011 in
favor of a group of villagers. They had claimed Texaco, later
acquired by Chevron, contaminated an oil field in northeastern
Ecuador between 1964 and 1992.
The decision bars Donziger and the villagers from enforcing
the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States and freezes all
proceeds from the judgment.
Chevron accused Donziger of fraud and said it cleaned up the
site before handing it over to a state-controlled entity.
Donziger did not immediately comment on the decision.