Chevron has won another battle in its fight against a $9.5 billion claim brought against the US supermajor by the government of Ecuador in what has been a years-long struggle between the feuding parties over claims of environmental damage.
The District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands on Wednesday upheld a 2018 ruling from an international tribunal that sided with the San Ramon, California-based oil giant and against the Quito administration.
Wednesday’s unanimous award upheld the earlier arbitral award in full. The 2018 arbitral award had found that the earlier $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron was fraudulent.
The case stems from accusations by Ecuadorian villagers that Texaco, which Chevron purchased in 2001, had polluted the environment in 1964 and 1992. In 2011, the villagers' lawyer, Steve Donziger, won an $18 million judgment that was later slashed to $9.5 million.
However, in 2014, a US District Judge in New York said Donziger and his legal team had used bribery, coercion and fraud to obtain the judgment. Donziger was also barred from practicing law in New York earlier this year.
In a statement on Wednesday, Chevron said that “ the  international arbitral tribunal found that a $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron was procured through egregious fraud and corruption by the plaintiffs’ legal team, including bribery of the presiding judge and ghostwriting of the judgment”.
It added: “It held the judgment unenforceable under international law.”
The tribunal had also found that Chevron’s subsidiary “had completed an environmental remediation programme supervised and approved by the Republic of Ecuador and that the Republic released the environmental claims on which the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment was based”.
Chevron continued: “Any responsibility for current environmental conditions in Ecuador lies with the state-owned oil company, which continues to operate in the same area today.”
The US giant added that is arbitration with Ecuador is “now in its final stage”, with the company seeking to recover costs from Ecuador that it has incurred.