Attorney Steven Donziger.

Chevron released a video Tuesday calling a decades long pollution case in Ecuador the “legal fraud of the century.”

The case stretches all the way back to 1964 when Texaco, now part of Chevron, spilled millions of gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon rain forest while operating in Ecuador.

Texaco later partnered with Ecuador’s state owned PetroEcuador to drill in the country but eventually abandoned its efforts in 1990.

According to Chevron Texaco spent $40 million to clean up its share of the sites and was released from any further liability by both local communities and the Ecuadorian government.

Fast forward to 2011 when New York attorney Steven Donziger won a $19 billion judgement from an Ecuadorian court against Chevron for the spills after an eight year legal battle.

Soon after the decision was handed down reports of corruption and bribery committed by Donziger during the case began to surface.

The settlement was overturned by a U.S. federal judge in March 2014 after it was discovered that Donziger violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and had engineered a scheme to coerce court officials and others involved in the case.

In a nearly 500 page ruling U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan outlined multiple crimes Donziger committed including promising the Ecuadorian judge presiding over the case half a million dollars to rule in his favor and ghost writing court opinions.

Donziger and his team were also found guilty of numerous other crimes ranging from wire fraud to witness tampering.

According to Chevron the lawyer also set up a secret offshore company in Gibraltar to ensure he got his cut of the settlement before the funds were dispersed to others involved in the case.

The federal court decision also barred Dozinger and two other team members from “profiting from the egregious fraud that has occurred,” the FCPA Blog said.

When the ruling was handed down Donziger told Reuters that judge Kaplan let his “implacable hostility toward me … infect his view of the case.”

Despite the ruling Donziger maintains that earlier court decisions support his corrupt crusade against Chevron.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal published in February Donziger said the federal court ruling, currently under appeal, will “likely be vacated.”

“The real fraud in the Ecuador case is Chevron’s litigation shell game,” he wrote.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article misspelled Mr. Donziger’s name.


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