QUITO Nov 13 Ecuador's highest court upheld a
verdict condemning U.S. oil company Chevron of pollution
in an Amazon rainforest region, but halved the fine imposed in a
previous judgment to $9.5 billion.
Chevron took the case to the National Court of Justice after
a lower provincial court in the Amazon region, where Texaco
operated between 1964 and 1992, deemed Chevron was responsible
for the pollution that plaintiffs say has harmed the health of
communities living in the area.
The judge in that ruling imposed a $19 billion fine on the
Chevron bought Texaco's operations in the region in 2001,
inheriting legal responsibility for the pollution, Ecuador says.
Chevron spokesman James Craig said the decision against the
company, ratified by the National Court of Justice late on
Tuesday, was "illegitimate and inapplicable".
"The only decision that the Court of Justice could have
taken .. was to declare the trial null and void and leave this
illegitimate sentence without effect," he said in a statement on
Chevron is fighting across various international tribunals
to nullify the multi-billion decision. It is pursuing a case
against the U.S. lawyer representing Ecuador who it says
resorted to fraud to obtain a judgment against
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Peter Murphy;
Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)