From 1964 to 1990, Chevron (then Texaco) was the sole operator of an oil concession in Ecuador that ravaged thousands of square miles of once-pristine rainforest, poisoned the environment of tens of thousands of people, and decimated Indigenous tribes who had lived sustainably in the region for millennia. Texaco left Ecuador in 1992 and in 1993, representatives of indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon filed a landmark lawsuit to demand environmental clean-up. For years, Chevron (which absorbed Texaco in 2001) has used legal maneuvers, smear tactics, and dirty tricks to delay and disrupt the trial, drain the resources of the plaintiffs, and deny justice to thousands of people in the Amazon region of Ecuador who continue to suffer from the oil giant's toxic legacy.
In August 2009, Chevron launched another round of fireworks in its campaign to evade responsibility in Ecuador – this time in the form of secretly-taped videos they claimed exposed corruption implicating the judge presiding over the trial. But what has come to light since then is even more shocking.
Since that time, the supposed scandal has unraveled with revelations about the secret video-taping of the judge, and the relationship between Chevron and the two men who made the videos – one a convicted felon and drug trafficker, the other a long-time Chevron employee directly involved with the company's legal defense.
Investigations into the two men who conducted the secret video-taping – Wayne Hansen and Diego Borja – reveal a disturbing dirty tricks operation designed to disrupt the trial, and get paid by the oil giant for doing so.
The investigation into American Wayne Hansen – who posed as the owner of a remediation company willing to pay bribes for clean-up contracts – revealed that he has never worked in remediation, and is a convicted felon and drug trafficker with no visible means of financial support. Chevron paid for an attorney for Hansen but Hansen has since fired the attorney, and his current whereabouts are unknown. Click here to read more on Wayne Hansen and his involvement in the fake bribery scandal.
An investigation of Hansen's partner in the videotaping operation, Diego Borja, revealed that Borja is a longtime Chevron employee in Ecuador with significant personal and financial ties to the company, including direct association with the oil giant's legal defense in the very trial his dirty tricks operation was designed to disrupt. Before Chevron released the tapes that Hansen and Borja made and delivered to the company, the oil giant paid to relocate Borja and his family to a $6000/month house with a swimming pool in a gated community just minutes from Chevron Headquarters in San Ramon, CA. The company pays the rent on his home, payments on a leased SUV, fees for personal security, as well as a large monthly stipend. Click here to read more on Diego Borja, his involvement in the fake bribery scandal, and revelations about Chevron's involvement in "cooking evidence" (Borja's words) in the environmental trial in Ecuador.
For additional background on the secret video-taping of the judge and Chevron's contrived corruption scandal, read Clean Up Ecuador Campaign Coordinator Han Shan's articles on the Huffington Post:
Chevron's 'Dirty Tricks Operation' in the Amazon (Sept. 3, 2009)
Chevron's Man in Ecuador: Felon, Drug-Trafficker, and Liar, Oh My! (Oct. 31, 2009)
The following two documents provide an overview of the scandal:
Chevron's Bribery Scandal
in PDF format
(Updated October 29, 2009)
Questions about Chevron's Role
in PDF format
(Updated October 29, 2009)
The report on the investigation into Wayne Hansen is available here:
in PDF format
in PDF format
The articles below contain more specific information:
29 October 2009 | The New York Times
An American whose secret recordings have placed him at the center of a $27 billion lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador is a convicted drug trafficker, records show, throwing another complication into a case already tainted by accusations of bribery and espionage. Read more...
29 October 2009 | Reuters
A lawsuit against Chevron over pollution of Ecuador's jungle in the 1990s took another bizarre turn when the plaintiffs released a report saying a man who helped force the removal of an Ecuadorean judge from the $27 billion case is a convicted drug smuggler. Read more...
29 October 2009 | Associated Press
One of two men who made clandestine video recordings allegedly showing government bias and kickback-soliciting in a $27 billion oil contamination lawsuit is a convicted felon with a history of legal troubles. Read more...
29 October 2009 | Al Jazeera
Lucia Newman, Al Jazeera's Latin America editor, reports from Ecuador on the case, and Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for the plaintiffs, talks about the recent developments in the lawsuit, including the revelation that Chevron's key witness in the alleged bribery scandal is a convicted felon with a checkered past. Read more...
Investigation Reveals Life of Deception, No Connection to Oil Remediation, and No Stable Employment
29 October 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Wayne Hansen, the American businessman who helped make the secret videos being used by Chevron in an attempt to taint an environmental trial where the company faces a $27 billion liability, is a convicted felon who was charged with conspiring to import more than 275,000 pounds of marijuana from Colombia to the United States. Read more...
In New Letter, Company Refuses to Turn Over Forensic Analysis of Videos; Confirms Ongoing Payments to Ecuadorian Contractor Who Made Tapes
28 October 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
In a stunning admission, Chevron's top outside counsel on the Ecuador environmental case has publicly conceded that the company's own lawyers met with a Chevron contractor regarding his secret video recordings just days before he taped a critical meeting in Ecuador about a purported bribe that the company is trying to use to taint a trial where it faces a $27.3 billion environmental liability. Read more...
News Outlets Expose Discrepancies in Chevron Account; Ecuador Calls for DOJ to Investigate Possible Criminal Violations
13 October 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Questions are mounting over Chevron's continued refusal to respond to new facts that suggest the company manufactured secret videos to undermine a civil trial in Ecuador. Read more...
Oil Giant Trying to Block Investigation of Its Own Role in Doctoring Videos and Facilitating Misconduct,
Says Amazon Defense Coalition
15 September 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Chevron has arranged for two prominent criminal defense attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area to represent the men who secretly videotaped a purported bribery scheme in Ecuador, apparently to block an investigation to determine the company's own role in orchestrating the incident to disrupt a trial where Chevron faces a $27 billion liability. Read more...
New Scrutiny of Chevron's Own Conduct In Possible "Dirty Tricks" Operation. Oil Giant Hiding Witnesses; DOJ Pressed to Investigate Role of Chevron Legal Team;
Company Refusing to Turn Over Evidence
3 September 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Significant flaws are emerging in Chevron's version of events surrounding a purported Ecuador bribery scandal where company officials are trying to taint a long-running trial involving a potential $27 billion liability, representatives of the Amazon indigenous communities said today. Read more...
Chevron’s Video Transcripts Raise Questions About Oil Giant’s Misconduct to Delay $27 billion Environmental Trial In Ecuador. Department of Justice Asked to Focus on Chevron
1 September 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
In a maneuver reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s infamous “dirty tricks” operations, Chevron has posted a series of grainy videos on YouTube in an attempt to corrupt the trial proceedings where the company faces a $27 billion liability for environmental damage, representatives of the indigenous communities in Ecuador charged Tuesday. Read more...
Court Fines Chevron Lawyer for Causing Delay; Criminal Prosecution Gains Steam
18 August 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
An Ecuadorian trial judge dealt Chevron another setback when he fined the company’s local counsel for trying to delay the end of a $27 billion environmental trial and referred a court-ordered report to Ecuador’s national prosecutor for possible use in a criminal prosecution of the company, according to court papers made available this week. Read more...
24 June 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Evidence that two Chevron lawyers committed fraud in Ecuador apparently has grown stronger with a new court-ordered report finding extensive levels of toxic contamination at two oil well sites that the company claimed to have “remediated” in the mid-1990s. Read more...
More than 1,400 Cancer Deaths Reported By Experts
30 April 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Washington, D.C. (April 30, 2009) – Chevron is responsible for creating a “humanitarian crisis of epic proportions” in Ecuador’s rainforest where more than 1,400 people reportedly have died of cancer and indigenous groups are struggling to survive the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic waste, a representative of the local communities testified this week before the U.S. Congress. Read more...
On Eve of Final Inspections, Proof that Dozens of Waste Pits Never Touched Were Counted As "Remediated"
25 March 2009 | Amazon Defense Coalition
With judicial inspections in Chevron's long-running environmental trial in Ecuador about to end, new proof has emerged that the oil giant never touched the majority of toxic waste pits that it certified as "clean" to Ecuador's government in exchange for a legal release, said a lawyer for the Amazon Defense Coalition. Read more...
High-Stakes Trial in San Francisco Focuses Attention on Chevron's Growing Human Rights Problems Around Globe
Oil Giant Seems Increasingly Out of Step with Industry Rivals with Accusations It Helped Orchestrate Deaths of Nigerian Villagers
Hiring of Bush Administration "Torture Lawyer" Latest Controversy
27 October 2008 | Amazon Defense Coalition
Chevron is embarking today on a high stakes defense in U.S. federal court against charges that it helped orchestrate the killing of two Nigerian villagers at a time when its corporate legal department is under mounting pressure for disregarding human rights issues. Read more...
Seven Ecuadorian Government Officials Also Charged with Conspiring with Chevron to Falsify Remediation Results
Company Hit with Multiple Scandals in Matter of Days
15 September 2008 | Amazon Defense Coalition
A criminal indictment in Ecuador against two Chevron lawyers, one an executive vice-president, is based on scientific evidence that the oil giant conspired with Ecuadorian government officials to falsify the results of an environmental clean-up to escape a potential multi-billion dollar civil liability pending in U.S. federal court. Read more...
Chevron's Other Acts of Corruption
12 September 2008 | San Francisco Chronicle
A government scandal mixing alleged drug use, cronyism and sex at a federal office that handles billions of dollars in oil-drilling royalties has ensnared Chevron Corp. Read more...
14 February 2008 | K&L Gates
On November 14, 2007, the SEC filed a settled Foreign Corrupt Practices Act civil complaint against Chevron arising from its role in making $20 million in improper kickbacks paid in connection with the U.N.-administered Oil for Food Program during Saddam Hussein’s reign. Read more...