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Chevron fraud case heads to U.S. as Ecuadorean judge orders seizure of the company’s assets

Ecuadorean plaintiffs are seeking to collect $19 billion in damages in the long-running pollution case

Chevron Corp.’s long-running litigation against a group of Ecuadorean plaintiffs is heating up this week.

On Tuesday, an Ecuadorean judge ordered the seizure of Chevron’s assets in Ecuador, which are estimated to be worth $200 million. These assets comprise $96.3 million that the country’s government owes Chevron, along with money that Chevron is holding in Ecuadorean bank accounts, according to the plaintiffs.

The Ecuadorean plaintiffs are seeking to recover billions of dollars in damages from the oil company. Their case dates back to 1993, when they sued Texaco—which Chevron acquired in 2001—claiming that the oil company had polluted the environment and made local people ill when it improperly disposed of drilling waste in the 1970s and 1980s.

In February 2011, a judge in a small jungle town found the company liable, and ordered it to pay almost $19 billion in damages. But Chevron isn’t giving up the fight: It sued the Ecuadoreans and their legal adviser, Steven Donzinger, in federal court, accusing them of fabricating evidence and improperly influencing the legal system. On Thursday, a Manhattan judge announced that a trial on the fraud and racketeering cliams will begin on Oct. 15, 2013.

Chevron is also facing litigation in Brazil, where prosecutors are seeking $10.6 billion over its alleged role in a November 2011 oil spill near Rio de Janeiro.

Read more at Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of the oil industry, see:

Nigerians bring pollution case against Shell in the Netherlands

Exxon Mobil faces lawsuits over Yellowstone River oil spill

Feds to pursue gross negligence claims in BP oil spill case

Brazilian court upholds ban against Chevron and Transocean

Lawsuit accuses Chevron of gross negligence in refinery fire

Ecuadorian plaintiffs sue Chevron in Brazil

Shell’s exploratory drilling mission in the Gulf of Mexico can continue

Alanna Byrne

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