Chevron Assets Frozen in Argentina over Ecuador Case

After years of litigation, an Ecuadoran court in February 2011 ordered Chevron to pay a huge fine

Buenos Aires, Argentina – An Argentine judge on Wednesday froze Chevron's assets at the request of a court in Ecuador, where the oil giant was ordered to pay $19 billion for environmental damage, a lawyer in the case said.

"An Argentine judge has decreed Chevron assets in Argentina frozen in compliance with the Ecuadoran judge's request," Enrique Bruchou, an attorney for the plaintiffs here, told reporters.

In October, Chevron said it was disappointed by the US Supreme Court's decision not to block the massive fine sought by Ecuador for environmental damage in the Amazon.

Chevron Corporation appealed to the highest US court an Ecuadoran court order to pay $18.2 billion, an amount that was subsequently raised to some $19 billion in August.

The US Supreme Court, in a brief statement in October, offered no explanation for its decision not to take up the case.

The Ecuadoran complaint stems from years of unchecked pollution in the Amazon attributed to Texaco Petroleum, which Chevron acquired in 2001.

Texaco polluted large areas of Ecuador's Amazon jungle when it operated in the region from 1964 to 1990, a decade before being acquired by Chevron, according to indigenous groups and local farmers.

After years of litigation, an Ecuadoran court in February 2011 ordered Chevron to pay the huge fine. Chevron has accused the Ecuadoran judge who ruled on the case of fraud and breach of trust.

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