Attorney Pablo Fajardo has been suspended by the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia (FDA) for his alleged role in lifting a lien against Chevron assets that paved the way for a multi-million payment last week.
According to Forbes, the ADF suspended Fajardo on Friday and is investigating his role in allegedly lifting a lien against Chevron’s assets in Ecuador to help facilitate a $112 million payment to Chevron tied to a contract dispute.
The FDA is the sole fiduciary in charge of a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron awarded by an Ecuador judge in 2011 tied to an unrelated pollution dispute.
The group said Fajardo took the action without the permission of the FDA and apparently made the move at the “behest of individuals in Ecuador’s government that wanted to pay Chevron.”
The FDA said it would have been entitled to the $112 million if the lien had remained in place and used the funds to begin cleaning up environmental damages it blames on Chevron.
In a statement, FDA president Carlos Guaman said that Fajardo and any other person involved in the lifting of the lien could be liable for damages or otherwise sanctioned.
Ecuador’s government confirmed last week that it paid Chevron a $112 million award that was ordered by the Hague in 2011.
The dispute centered on an agreement initially signed by Texaco in 1973 to develop fields in Ecuador and sell crude back to the Ecuadorian government at below-market prices.
Chevron acquired Texaco in 2000 and initiated arbitration proceedings at the Hague in 2006.
The dispute is unrelated to an ongoing pollution case that stretches back to the early 1960s when Texaco allegedly spilled millions of gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon rain forest while operating in Ecuador.
An Ecuadorian court ruled against Chevron in 2011 and awarded a group of villagers represented by American attorney Steve Donziger an $18 billion judgement.
That award was later reduced to $9.5 billion.
Fajardo worked alongside Donziger during that case.
The $9.5 billion judgment was overturned by a New York District Court judge in 2014 after Donziger was found to have violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York said he found “clear and convincing evidence” that Donziger and his legal team bribed an Ecuadorean judge to issue the intial $18 billion judgment against Chevron in 2011.
Judge Kaplan found that Donziger engineered a scheme to coerce court officials that included private meetings with judges that “normally come out of Hollywood.”
The decision barred Donziger and two other representatives from “profiting from the egregious fraud that has occurred.”
According to Forbes, a default judgment was entered against Fajardo in that case after he refused to appear in court.
Donziger has denied any wrongdoing and appealed the ruling last year but a decision has not been issued yet.
A U.S. press representative for the ADF told Forbes that Donziger is still the group’s U.S. legal adviser.
Neither Fajardo nor Donziger have commented on the matter.