25 May 2012
A shareholder group led by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is urging Chevron Corp. to settle a nearly 20-year legal battle pitting the multinational corporation against indigenous people in the Ecuadorian rainforest.
Chevron's continued efforts to fight an Ecuadorian court's judgement awarding $18 billion in damages related to the dumping of oil waste in the rainforest are hurting the indigenous people of Ecuador as well as its own reputation, DiNapoli said in a statement.
The case dates back to Texaco's operations in Ecuador, which began in 1964. A lawsuit against Chevron was brought by a group of Ecuadorians in 2003, two years after the company bought Texaco. The suit alleged that Texaco had dumped millions of gallons of oil waste products into the Ecuadorian rainforest, and spilled millions of gallons of oil.
The comptroller is trustee of the $150.3 billionNew York State Common Retirement Fund, which owns 7.24 million shares of Chevron, worth around $713 million. He joined with 39 other investors from North America and Canada to call on the company to end its battle to undo the verdict in the case.
"The time for delay is over," said DiNapoli. "The company's attempt to undo the court's verdict only keeps the case in the public eye and further damages Chevron's reputation. Chevron's actions are hurting shareholders as well as the indigenous people of the rainforest."
Chevron has said that the case was fraught with fraud, and recently went to the U.S. federal court in Miami seeking records of eight accounts at Banco Pinchicha in Ecuador, saying the records would prove corruption.
A company representative wasn't immediately available for comment on Friday.