Judge Orders Wayne Hansen Deposed, Documents Turned Over as Scandal Tainting Oil Giant Widens
Amazon Defense Coalition
26 October 2010 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Fresno, CA – A federal court in California has ordered the deposition of Chevron sting operative Wayne Hansen, the convicted drug trafficker who in 2009 engaged in a "dirty tricks" operation for the oil giant in Ecuador that tried to undermine a trial judge, according to court papers.
Diego Borja, the leader of the sting operation and a longtime Chevron employee in Ecuador, earlier had been ordered deposed by a federal judge after he was caught on tape saying that he "cooked" evidence while working for Chevron during the trial. Borja separately said that he took soil samples away from contaminated oil sites and that Chevron's laboratory was not independent as required by the court.
A hearing on Borja's attempt to quash the order is set for November 10 in San Francisco.
"This court ruling is important because Borja and Hansen are at the epicenter of a potentially enormous scandal that could implicate several Chevron officials right through the company's General Counsel and possibly beyond," said Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for the Ecuadorians suing Chevron in the South American nation.
The depositions create potential peril for Chevron and its legal team.
Borja and possibly Hansen had extensive contact with Chevron lawyers as they taped four meetings in Ecuador in 2009 that they thought would implicate the trial judge in a bribery scandal, but instead backfired against Chevron, according to Hinton.
"Borja and Hansen participated in an illegal operation designed to interfere in an ongoing trial, ruin a judge's reputation, and deny tens of thousands of people their day in court," she added.
Chevron is charged in the lawsuit with illegally discharging billions of gallons of toxic produced water in Ecuador's rainforest from 1964-1990, creating what experts believe is the world's worst oil-related catastrophe. The company faces a potential $113 billion liability based on a 200,000-page evidentiary and is desperate to derail the trial before a judgment is reached, according to representatives of the plaintiffs.
The depositions, requested by lawyers for Ecuador's government, are being ordered under a U.S. law that allows discovery to assist foreign legal proceedings.
Hansen and Borja came to the attention of authorities after Chevron released videotapes made by the pair, claiming they exposed a bribery scheme related to the trial judge. Chevron initially described Hansen and Borja as "Good Samaritans" who were not connected to the company.
Chevron's story unraveled quickly.
Far from being a "good Samaritan", an investigation found that Hansen had pled guilty to importing illegal drugs into the United States and had been sentenced to two years in a federal prison. He also had no connection to the remediation industry, as Chevron had claimed. The investigation also found that Borja was a long-time Chevron employee who was intimately involved in the company's legal defense team in Ecuador, a fact Chevron did not disclose. Click here for more information about Borja and Hansen.
Chevron relocated Borja to the U.S. and paid for well-known criminal defense lawyer Cristina Arguedes to represent him. He was later taped by a childhood friend bragging about the operation. On the tapes, Borja brags that "crime does pay" and that he expected to receive large payments from Chevron.