In a $27 billion lawsuit against Chevron already rife with allegations of bribery and espionage, the latest: an American who captured secret footage of Ecuadorian officials accepting bribes is a convicted drug trafficker, reports NYT.
The saga started in the 1970s when Texaco started producing oil in the Amazon rainforests. By the 90s, villagers were suffering from cancer and physical deformities. They sued the oil giant, which was subsequently bought by Chevron in 1993.
It has made for some high voltage drama, pitting plaintiffs in face-paint and native garb against big oil lawyers in a jungle courtroom. In 2008, an expert recommended Chevron pay about $28 billion to clean up the noxious sludge. In comparison, the highest payout so far was $3.9 billion by ExxonMobil for the 1989 Alaska spill.
In return, Chevron said it could never receive a fair trial in Ecuador, and played a video showing Ecuadorian officials accepting bribes for future clean-up contracts.
Now it seems the video was shot by a convicted drug trafficker, Wayne Hansen, who tried to traffic 275,000 pounds of marijuana from Colombia to the U.S. in 1986. The question is why Hansen would bother to capture the tape in the first place? Perhaps a hefty payment from Chevron?
The spokesman for Chevron says, “we’ve had no association with this guy” prior to his capturing the video.
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