Chevron knew full well that an executive at its PR agency, Ogilvy PR, had ties to the Andean parliamentary president in Ecuador, Ivonne Baki, and fired the shop because the agency failed to bend the Ecuadoreans to its will, not because it was a conflict of interest: That, in a nutshell, is the conspiracy theory alleged by The Chevron Pit, a blog maintained by rain forest activists who successfully sued Chevron for its pollution of the Latin American jungle.Chevron ostensibly fired Ogilvy after it discovered that one of its executives, Felipe Benitez, had given advice to both the Ecuadorean government and environmental groups hoping to preserve the Amazon. We pointed out that the move seemed weird because Benitez’s LinkedIn profile listed the fact that he had those clients dating back to 2008, so this shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Chevron Pit now alleges that Chevron knew about Benitez all along and was hoping that he could sway the government to not enforce an $18 billion judgment environmental activists won against the company for polluting the forest:
There is simply no way Chevron could not have known that the firm of its lead lobbyist on the Ecuador matter was also representing Ecuador’s government. In fact, we suspect that was all part of the “value” Ogilvy was offering Chevron for its fee of $600,000 per year.
The blog points out that Ogilvy represented both Chevron and the Yasuni Project, an environmental group in Ecuador. It alleges Chevron offered to donate $500 million to Yasuni if the rest of the judgment was dropped. Baki, who is also a fundraiser for Yasuni, was key in floating the idea, according to this press release and the blog.
Chevron was hoping that Benitez could use his goodwill inside Ecuador, and at Yasuni with Baki, to persuade the parties to drop the judgment in favour the donation, but the government didn’t buy it. When the plan failed, Chevron dispensed with Ogilvy’s services, the blog alleges, and so did Yasuni.
- Chevron Fired Its PR Agency Because ONE Staffer Spoke To Environmentalists 4 Years Ago
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