Adolfo Callejas Charged With Hiding Information to Delay Trial
Amazon Defense Coalition
27 April 2010 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Quito, Ecuador – Chevron's lead lawyer in Ecuador faces sanctions for misleading the court about a "dirty tricks" operation that the oil giant used to try to delay an environmental trial where it faces a multi-billion dollar liability, representatives of the plaintiffs announced today.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed a motion with the Ecuador court asserting that Chevron lawyer Adolfo Callejas misled the judge when he failed to disclose that secretly taped videos of the trial judge were made by a longtime Chevron contractor, Diego Borja, who worked for the company's legal team in the trial. Callejas has worked as a lawyer with Chevron and its predecessor company in Ecuador, Texaco, for more than three decades.
The plaintiffs have called the creation of the videos – released on YouTube in August of last year – a "dirty tricks" operation by Chevron intended to derail the trial, where the scientific evidence points to the oil giant's culpability for causing a wide-ranging environmental catastrophe in Ecuador's rainforest.
Chevron lawyer Callejas had told the Ecuador court that Borja was an independent third party who made the tapes and then turned them over to Chevron because of a sense of civic duty. Borja later admitted he and his wife were paid substantial sums of money by Chevron for years to work on the environmental trial, and later were moved by Chevron to the U.S. where Borja continues to receive a salary from the oil giant.
"We now know that Borja was paid by Chevron and that he was a Chevron employee, contrary to what Callejas said at the time to the court," said Pablo Fajardo, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer for 30,000 rainforest dwellers suing the company.
It was later discovered that Borja signed numerous documents relating to soil sampling under the direction of the Chevron legal team, which Callejas led. Callejas therefore knew of Borja's longtime ties to Chevron but hid that information from the court, said Fajardo.
"Borja executed a dirty tricks operation to help Chevron derail the lawsuit and it appears Callejas helped him," said Fajardo.
After Chevron made the videos public, Chevron relocated Borja to a luxury house near its headquarters in California and paid for him to retain a prominent criminal defense lawyer, apparently so he could not be questioned by authorities, said Fajardo.
Misleading the court for the purpose of delaying a litigation is a sanctionable offense under Ecuador's civil code, said Fajardo.