Southern District of New York Court Upholds Chevron RICO Complaint
SAN RAMON, Calif., May 14, 2012 – The Southern District of New York today issued an order upholding Chevron's complaint for racketeering, fraud, conspiracy and New York Judiciary Law 487, which provides for civil damages against an attorney who engages in deceit or collusion with intent to deceive a court, against U.S. plaintiffs' lawyer and RICO defendant Steven Donziger, related to the long-running environmental case against the Company in Ecuador.
As the Court noted in its opinion, Chevron "alleges that the RICO defendants are executing a multi-faceted, extortionate scheme that included not only bringing the Lago Agrio case, but also intimidating of Ecuadorian judges, fabricating evidence, making false statements to U.S. courts, Congress, the SEC, and the media, and bringing false criminal charges, all for the purpose of coercing Chevron 'into paying to stop the campaign against it.'" Judge Kaplan, in his order, also ruled that "Chevron's extortion allegations are more than sufficient." Furthermore, the order rejected all of Donziger's challenges to Chevron's allegations under the federal RICO statute, finding that Chevron had adequately stated claims for mail and wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. The Court also held that Chevron had stated valid claims under common law fraud and the New York Judiciary Act, which creates civil liability for lawyers who attempt to deceive courts.
"Chevron is pleased with the Court's order, which upholds the core of Chevron's RICO claim on every predicate criminal act asserted by the company," said Hewitt Pate, Vice president and General Counsel. "We are eager to move forward with our racketeering case to hold the perpetrators of this unprecedented fraud and misconduct accountable."
In a separate order also issued today, the court declined to grant Chevron's motion to attach the defendants' assets. In response to this order Pate continued, "Chevron will continue to use all means at its disposal to defend against the fraud being perpetrated by the plaintiffs' lawyers."
Chevron is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.
Published: May 2012