tuesday, 20 november of 2012

Chevron files ethics complaint against NY comptroller


Ethics complaint

Chevron files ethics complaint against NY comptroller

Chevron Corp sought to open an investigation on Tuesday into New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, claiming he pressured the oil company to settle environmental litigation in Ecuador in exchange for campaign contributions from supporters of the lawsuit's plaintiffs.

Chevron said it filed a complaint before the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, seeking a probe of DiNapoli and current and past members of his staff.

In a statement, Chevron said the plaintiffs' supporters have contributed more than $60,000 to DiNapoli's campaign, as well as "other political benefits". It did not specify the supporters.

The company said DiNapoli "has given his unwavering support and used his public office to take actions on behalf of the plaintiffs", calling it "an apparent quid pro quo exchange".

DiNapoli oversees the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which owns more than $800 million of Chevron stock, the company said, citing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

DiNapoli was not immediately available for comment.

The specific actions Chevron objected to by DiNapoli include sponsoring shareholder resolutions "and making public statements against Chevron that were explicitly intended to pressure the company to settle" the lawsuit.

Chevron has not settled the litigation in Ecuador.

A 2011 decision by an Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay $19 billion for contamination of watersheds and inappropriate disposing of oil industry waste during crude oil production in a remote jungle region during nearly 30 years.

Because Chevron has few assets in Ecuador that can be taken as compensation, the plaintiffs are trying to get the ruling enforced in other countries. Chevron, which is based in San Ramon, California, calls the ruling unenforceable and illegitimate.

A U.S. trial has been set for next fall in the Chevron lawsuit that accuses Ecuadorean residents, their lawyers and advisers of fraud in obtaining the pollution award.

(Published by Reuters - November 20, 2012)

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