March 21, 2012 / 6:05 PM / 6 years ago

Brazil charges Chevron with crimes over oil spill

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 21 (Reuters) - A Brazilian federal prosecutor filed criminal charges against U.S. oil company Chevron and drill-rig operator Transocean for a November oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The prosecutor, Eduardo Santos de Oliveira, also filed criminal charges against 1 7 k ey e xecutives and employees at C hevron and Transocean, ow ner of the world’s largest oil rig fleet. A mong the defendants is Ge orge Buck, a U.S. citizen in charge of Chevron’s operations in Brazil, the statement said.

Sentences could reach up to 31 years in jail, the prosecutors office said.

The charges, filed with a federal court in the Brazilian city of Campos de Goytacazes, will require the approval of a judge to proceed, a process that could take hours or days, the prosecutors office said.

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