Argentina vs. Chevron: It’s $19 billion worth of on

Remember how Ecuadorian rain forest villagers won an $18 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. because Texaco polluted the Amazon back in the day? Never mind that the Chevron still says they discharged all their responsibilities long ago and the trial judge was corrupt. Never mind because they got the venue they asked for, they lost the case, and they have spent the last year acting as though no judgment existed. For the most part, that strategy worked fine. No US court was about to seize their assets, at least no time soon. A court case in Canada to enforce the Ecuador judgment promises to be sloow, only with more os. Some have suggested that Chevron try Venezuela, but Venezuela is more dependent on Chevron than vice versa — so that’s not going to happen. But Argentina well, we shall see.

Reuters, take it away:

Argentine judge puts embargo on Chevron assets-lawyer

Nov 7 (Reuters) – An argentine judge has put an embargo on $19 billion in Chevron Corp assets in the South American country over an environmental damages suit in Ecuador, a lawyer for the plaintiffs told reporters on Wednesday.

And that’s the whole article, for now.

For those of you in North America, an “embargo” in South American law is usually pretty much the same as an asset freeze. The company can still use its stuff, but can’t sell it or give it away. I’m sure we’ll all have much more to learn about the term over the next few weeks.

UPDATING WITH CHEVRON STATEMENT:
Bloomberg now has this, from Chevron:

Chevron is unaware of either a filing by the plaintiffs or a court order in Argentina, James Craig, a spokesman for the San Ramon, California-based company said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“The plaintiffs’ lawyers have no legal right to embargo subsidiary assets in Argentina and should not be allowed to disrupt Argentina’s pursuit of its important energy resources,” he said. “The Ecuador judgment is a product of bribery, fraud, and it is illegitimate.”

2 thoughts on “Argentina vs. Chevron: It’s $19 billion worth of on

  1. pier carlo

    mmm..this couples up with the Argentinian military vessel seized by Ghana over a filing by disgruntled investors?

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Yes! Interesting similarities, aren’t there? And if you were a judge in Ghana or New York and saw Argentina doing this, would that affect your opinion of the country’s claim to sovereign immunity? I don’t know, I see the cases are quite different, but there certainly links to be made.

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