In February 2011, a court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador issued an $18 billion judgment—later reduced to $9.5 billion—against Chevron. This judgment is illegitimate because of documented evidence of fraud and unethical action by the plaintiffs' lawyers as well as the Ecuadorian government and judiciary.
A former Ecuadorian judge acknowledged his direct involvement in orchestrating a fraudulent judgment against Chevron. In a sworn declaration filed on January 28, 2013, in New York federal court, Alberto Guerra, who presided over the case when it was first filed in 2003, reveals that he was paid thousands of dollars by the plaintiffs' lawyers and a subsequent judge, Nicholas Zambrano, for illegally ghostwriting judicial orders issued by Zambrano and steering the case in the plaintiffs' favor. Guerra, who is no longer a judge, attests that the plaintiffs' lawyers were permitted to draft the $18 billion judgment in their own favor after they promised to pay Zambrano a $500,000 bribe out of the judgment's enforcement proceeds, and that Guerra then reviewed the plaintiffs' lawyers' draft for Zambrano before the judge issued it as his own.
Guerra's declaration, which is corroborated by computer, bank and shipping records, as well as the plaintiffs' lawyers' own internal e-mails, provides a direct account of corruption that has tainted the trial for years, all of which will be examined at the upcoming RICO trial. Read more about Guerra's Admissions.
In addition, the environmental damages claims that underlay the February 2011 judgment have also been proven to be the result of fraud. On April 12, 2013, the plaintiffs' chief environmental consultants, Boulder, Colo.-based Stratus Consulting, filed sworn statements detailing their knowledge of the plaintiffs' lawyers' misconduct and testifying that there is no scientific merit to the allegations against Chevron.
In sworn declarations (here and here), senior Stratus executives detail the role the firm and the plaintiffs' lawyers played in drafting the supposedly independent damages report of Richard Cabrera, which serves as an evidentiary basis of the 2011 judgment against Chevron in Ecuador. The testimony also provides a direct account of lead plaintiffs' lawyer Steven Donziger's control of the "Cabrera Report" process and the pressure Donziger applied to contrive damages attributed to Chevron.
For information on additional evidence of fraudulent behavior by the plaintiffs' representatives, read more.