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What Reporters Are Writing About Chevron Bribery Scheme

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What Reporters Are Writing About Chevron Bribery Scheme Powered By Docstoc
					What Reporters Are Writing About Chevron’s
Bribery Scheme:

About Diego Borja, who secretly recorded the tapes and
participated in the bribery scheme:

Worked for Chevron at the oil contamination sites in the
lawsuit as recently as March and maintains an office in
the same building as Chevron’s lawyers in Quito.

Recently, Quito media has reported that Borja has an office in
a small building where Chevron’ local Ecuadorian legal team
also has offices.

On 9/1, Bloomberg’s Karen Gullo reported that Borja was
not, as Chevron described, just a “former logistics
contractor” for the oil company. His job was to assist
Chevron in testing soil for oil contamination during court
inspections. In the same story, she reported that Borja had re-
located to the US.

The contractor, Diego Borja, worked for Chevron delivering equipment
and assisting in soil inspections that Nunez oversaw in recent months as
part of a lawsuit seeking damages from the company for pollution
allegedly left by Texaco Inc. before it was acquired by Chevron in 2001.

Borja left Ecuador for the U.S. on June 24, according to migration
police records in Quito.

On 9/4, Reuters reporter Alexandra Valencia included
additional information from the plaintiffs that Borja had
worked for Chevron as recently as March, only a few weeks
before he secretly recorded one of the videotapes.

The Amazon Defense Coalition said in a statement on Tuesday that
Borja had worked for Chevron on the environmental trial during the
final eight field inspections conducted in March, and that one of is
cousins works for Chevron.


About Patricio Garcia, who allegedly offered the bribe:

Contrary to Chevron’s press materials, Garcia is not a
party official, and the bribery meeting occurred in a
house owned by Garcia, not in the ruling party’s offices.
Garcia admitted to meeting with Borja in the offices of
Chevron’s legal team.

Recently, Quito media has reported that Garcia said he met
with Borja in the offices of Chevron’s legal team in Quito,
where Borja also has an office.

On 9/7, Dow Jones News Service reporters Angel Gonzalez
and Mercedes Alvaro provided additional information on
Garcia, who Chevron described as an “official with the party
(Alianza PAIS)” but he is not from all accounts. Gonzalez
and Mercedes wrote:

Paulo Sanchez, administrator of Alianza PAIS' main office in Quito,
said that Garcia isn't a leader of the party and that Alianza officials
are checking whether he is enrolled in the movement. Sanchez, however,
said he has seen Garcia in political rallies and at the party's office.
"I have seen him, especially during electoral campaign times," Sanchez
said. "Surely he must have been collecting flyers or campaign material."

On 10/1, Bloomberg reporters Adriana Brasileiro and Karen
Gullo reported that Garcia is not a top party official or close
to government leaders, contrary to Chevron’s press materials.
Garcia identified himself as a car salesman, and Garcia’s
lawyer said he is boastful. Brasileiro and Gullo wrote:

Eduardo Paredes, a member of Alianza Pais’s political coordination
office, said Garcia isn’t registered as a member, though he may have
worked in informal party committees.

“The link with Alianza Pais doesn’t exist,” Paredes said in an
interview at his office in Quito. “We looked at our member registry
database -- we have about 350,000 registered members who signed up to
vote in primaries we held in January -- and this person is not registered.”

Garcia, 55, a car salesman in Quito, said ....“They made it look like I
had all kinds of connections at the top, but I’m just like the baker on
the corner: I know a lot of people, I talk to everybody, but I’m just a
baker,” he said in a Sept. 29 interview in Quito.

Cristian Zambrano, Garcia’s lawyer, said ..... “Garcia is the kind of
person who likes to talk so he can look good in front of people, and
that’s what he was doing in that video....He has no connections.”

The two Bloomberg reporters also wrote that the meeting
with Garcia and with Chevron contractor Diego Borja and
American businessman Wayne Hansen was in Garcia’s house,
not in the ruling party’s offices, as Chevron’s press materials
maintained. Garcia explained to the reporters how he met
Borja and Hansen. They wrote:

Garcia said he has been a member of the Alianza Pais party since
2006. He said he sought donations for the party, catered party rallies
and loaned the party a house that he owns in Quito. He said he was
approached by an Ecuadorean businessman at a rally in February about
getting water-treatment contracts in Ecuador.

The businessman, a contractor for Chevron, said he was working with a
U.S. businessman who wanted to invest in water- treatment and
pollution-cleanup projects in Ecuador, Garcia said. The Ecuadorean
businessman asked for help on how to channel the investments, he said.

That led to two meetings at the house that he had loaned to the party.
The gatherings were secretly recorded by the two businessmen, using a pen
and watch equipped with tiny cameras, according to Chevron.

To the plaintiffs’ knowledge, no reporter has written that
Garcia directed Borja to bring the money to him, Garcia, at
his house, when asked how to distribute the alleged kickback
from the contract to the plaintiffs.

Transcript of Meeting 4, page, 3:

BORJA: But, for the plaintiffs, who gets the
money, man? Fajardo? (plaintiffs’ attorney Pablo Fajardo)

GARCÍA: No. On this matter, we’re going to
handle it here.

BORJA: You mean Alianza País would receive
the payment here?
GARCÍA: Right.


About American businessman Wayne Hansen, who
secretly recorded the tapes and participated in the
bribery scheme:

“...Chevron (is) the biggest good Samaritan ... or they
have allied interest with this man.”

On 9/9, Bloomberg reporter Karen Gullo quoted a former
federal prosecutor who said Hansen could face criminal
charges.

Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Loyola
Law School in Los Angeles, said secretly recording the meetings could be
a criminal or civil violation. Companies often cover legal bills or provide
attorneys for executives facing lawsuits connected to their duties, she said.
“Either Chevron has turned into the biggest good Samaritan out
there or they have allied interests with this man,” Levenson
said in a telephone interview. “The balls in Chevron’s court to give a
better explanation of whether they’ll pay his legal costs out of the
goodness of their heart or as part of a contractual arrangement.”

On 9/10, an article by San Francisco Chronicle reporter
David Baker included a comment from Hansen that wins the
understatement of the year award:

Reached by telephone, Hansen directed questions to his attorney, saying
only, "I'm just a businessman trying to do business in
Ecuador, and this all blows up." His attorney could not be
reached for further comment.


About Hansen and Borja’s Fourth Meeting

Questions remain about whether Chevron instructed
Borja and Hansen on what to say and what questions to
ask during the fourth meeting.

On 10/10, The New York Times raised questions around
Borja and Hansen’s motivations and why they arranged and
secretly-recorded a fourth meeting on June 15th, after
Chevron officials told them not to attend any more meetings,
according to Chevron’s version of events. Reporters Simon
Romero and Cliff Krauss wrote:

Company spokesmen say that when Mr. Borja, an Ecuadorean logistics
contractor working with an American businessman, brought tapes of
three meetings to Chevron, company officials urged him not to go to more
meetings because doing so could be dangerous.

“Chevron had no involvement in the videotaping,” said Kent Robertson,
a company spokesman. “Chevron referred this matter to the U.S.
Department of Justice and Ecuador’s prosecutor general after making
every reasonable effort to verify the evidence that was presented.”

Mr. Borja went back for a fourth meeting, taped it, and gave more
evidence to the company. But no one has yet explained what motivated
him and his partner, Wayne Hansen, an American, to travel around
Ecuador meeting officials and collecting evidence of a bribery scheme,
especially one in which they stood to gain lucrative contracts.
About Lawyers For Hansen and Borja:

On 9/9, Bloomberg reporter Karen Gullo wrote that Hansen
had hired a lawyer and that Chevron may pay his legal fees.

If Hansen “incurs future legal costs related to this matter, it would only
be fair that we consider assisting him,” Kent Robertson, a Chevron
spokesman, said yesterday in an e- mailed statement. Hansen has “no
relationship” to Chevron, the company has said.

On 9/17, American Lawyer reporter Brian Baxter wrote that
Chevron would consider covering legal fees for both men:

Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson told The Am Law Daily that the
company would consider covering legal costs for both Borja and Hansen
should they incur them, given the fact that it would only be fair since the
two men came to Chevron with the recordings.

Baxter described the two attorneys representing Hansen and
Borja. Both attorneys are based in San Francisco, Chevron’s
backyard.

Two San Francisco Bay Area lawyers best known for representing
clients in performance-enhancing drug cases have been retained by
individuals that secretly videotaped an alleged bribery scheme in Ecuador
related to a mammoth environmental mass torts case against Chevron.

(Cristina) Arguedas (Borja’s attorney) has a string of high-profile clients
to her résumé, representing former Hewlett-Packard general counsel Ann
Baskins in the company's pretexting scandal, former Apple legal chief
Nancy Heinen on options-backdating charges and ex-Milberg partner
David Bershad in a kickback scheme. She currently represents former
baseball star Barry Bonds on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Along with partner Edward Swanson, (Mary) McNamara (Hansen’s
attorney) represented BALCO founder Victor Conte in a steroids
distribution investigation that ensnared several high-profile athletes,
including Bonds.


About Judge Nunez:

Says “Yes, sir.” off camera.

While some reporters accepted Chevron’s statement that
Judge Nunez said Chevron was guilty in his meeting with
Hansen and Borja, many others saw and heard something
different. Calling for an investigation into not only the judge’s
actions but also Chevron’s, a Los Angeles Times’ editorial on
9/5 stated:

On the tapes, the men -- a former Chevron contractor and an American
businessman -- press Nuñez to say how he will rule, without success.
Then, as Nuñez prepares to leave, one of the men again maintains that
Chevron is guilty, and Nuñez replies, "Yes, sir." To Chevron, that
cinches the argument. But on the video, it's unclear to whom the judge is
speaking and whether he is responding to the question or just trying to
end the meeting.
On 9/1, Financial Times reporter Sheila McNulty wrote:

The judge refuses several times on the tape to reveal the verdict, before
saying, “Yes, sir,” when asked if he will find Chevron guilty.
Nonetheless, the video begs the question whether Judge Nunez
understood what he was being asked.

Time.com reporter Stephan Küffner has been the only
reporter to report that Nunez’ remark was made off camera,
preventing viewers from knowing if Nunez actually made the
remark at that moment or if he was speaking to someone
else. (9/2)

Nuñez appears to be merely explaining to them the judicial process
involved in the Chevron suit. But at one point he is asked by the
American, businessman Wayne Hansen, if Chevron is el culpable —
the guilty party. Nuñez, off camera, answers, "Sí, señor" — "Yes,
sir."

On 9/1, San Francisco Chronicle’s David Baker was the only
reporter from a large daily newspaper to publish the entire
conversation in print:

Borja and Hansen ask (Nunez) several times whether he will rule
against Chevron, and he repeatedly tells them they must wait for the
 verdict to find out. These excerpts are from Chevron's transcript
Hansen: They've been the guilty party for more than many years, right?
Nuñez: You'll see that, sir. What you want to find out is whether it's
going to be guilty or not, I'm telling you that I can't tell you that, I'm a
judge, and I have to tell you in the ruling, not right now.
But as Nuñez prepares to leave the meeting, Hansen asks him again.
Hansen: Oh, no, I, I know clearly how it is, you say, Chevron is the
guilty party.
Nuñez: Yes, sir.

On 9/4, AP reporter Jeanneth Valdivieso reported Nunez’
denials:

Nunez says that he never solicited or received bribes, or said that he
would rule against the company. "Of what can they find me guilty with
these hackneyed, edited and manipulated videos? Nothing," he asked.

On 9/4, Dow Jones’ Mercedes Alvaro also quoted Nunez:

Nunez has contended that the video footage was manipulated. Chevron
has said the videos are authentic and haven't been doctored.


"I have communicated with both sides in this case that I recuse myself
from continuing with this case," Nunez told Dow Jones Newswires.
"However, I will continue with my work as a judge, and as president of
the Lago Agrio Court, because I have not committed any illegality or
irregularity."


About The Recusal’s Impact On Lawsuit

On 9/5, San Francisco Chronicle’s David Baker, Dow Jones’
Mercedes Alvaro and the Los Angeles Times editorial
included information from the plaintiffs about why Judge
Nunez’ recusal was not likely to result in a delay of the
lawsuit.

Baker: Since the current version of the lawsuit was filed in Ecuador in
2003, four judges have presided over it, most of them serving two-year
rotations as specified by Ecuadoran law. Almost all the evidence in the
case was submitted to the court before Nuñez took over.

Alvaro: While the latest development may be a public relations coup for
Chevron, it's unlikely to fundamentally alter the lawsuit's state of play.
According to Ecuador court procedures, the next judge will basically pick
up where Nunez left off. Both sides of the case had expected a ruling
against Chevron by the end of the year.

Los Angeles Times: Chevron now hopes to have Nuñez's past
rulings annulled and commence an investigation into the court-appointed
expert who determined the $27-billion damage assessment. It is also
possible, however, that Nuñez's recusal won't really matter. The court
presidency rotates in Ecuador, and Nuñez received the case from his
predecessor when he took the position; another change in judges won't
necessarily cause a long delay. It merely adds one more skirmish to a
lawsuit of grave consequence to the suffering people of the Ecuadorean
rain forest.


About Ecuador’s Attorney General: Has Requested
Chevron’s lawyers to appear for depositions.

On 9/9, Dow Jones News Service reporter Mercedes Alvaro
wrote that Ecuador’s attorney general wants Ecuador’s state
prosecutor to bring a legal suit against Chevron in the U.S.
under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She also wrote
that the attorney general has requested Chevron’s lawyers and
others to appear for depositions.

Ecuador's attorney general wants legal action in the U.S. against
Chevron Corp. (CVX), after the company released videos that it says
showed undue influence on a court case involving Chevron. In a
statement, Attorney General Washington Pesantez said Chevron could
be held accountable under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and
called on Ecuador's state prosecutor to open a legal suit in the U.S.

The attorney general's office has requested that Chevron's lawyers appear
for depositions. That government office also wants other people who
appear in the videos to appear for depositions.


About Ecuadorian Officials: Correa Says Government
Had No Involvement

On 9/12, Reuters News Service reporter Hugh Bronstein
reported:

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said his government had no
involvement in an alleged bribery scheme linked to a $27 billion
environmental damages lawsuit against Chevron.


About Spanish Translations:

On 9/1, Bloomberg’s Karen Gullo included information
from Ecuador’s Prosecutor General that Chevron’s Spanish
translations were suspect.

The videotapes disclosed by Chevron are heavily edited and the company’s
Spanish translations are poor and misleading, the agency said.

On 9/2, AP’s Jeanneth Valdivieso reported the same.
The Ecuadorean Solicitor General's Office said it was asking Chevron
to hand over any and all evidence of possible misconduct for
consideration. However, it noted in a statement that "a cursory review of
the heavily edited tapes that Chevron posted to its website shows that, in
some instances, Chevron's own translation of the Spanish into English is
poor and, in other instances, misleading."

On 9/16, the Miami Herald ran a letter to the editor from the
Ecuadorean Solicitor General, which described one of
inaccuracies in the translation:

For example, while Chevron's transcripts contend that the presiding
judge somehow ``admitted'' that any appeal was merely a ``formality,''
the proper translation of the Spanish to English is that ``formalisms
must be observed,'' which is a correct statement of Ecuadorean law.
Deliberate or not, the Chevron transcripts were mistaken.

				
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