Chevron CEO Can’t Avoid Questioning in Ecuador Fraud Case

Chevron Corp. (CVX) lost a bid to stop Chief Executive Officer John Watson from being questioned by the attorney the company is suing over claims he committed fraud to win a $19 billion verdict in a pollution case in Ecuador.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in Manhattan today ruled that Watson’s experience in leading the 2001 Chevron- Texaco merger is “likely to have given him personal knowledge of the environmental issues underlying the Ecuador litigation.”

Francis also overruled San Ramon, California-based Chevron’s objection to a deposition of vice president and general counsel Edward Scott by defendant Steven Donziger, who is accused in the racketeering lawsuit of improperly influencing a court expert whose findings were used by the Ecuador judge in the environmental damage case in the Amazon.

Kent Robertson, a spokesman for the company, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment on the ruling.

Donziger has denied wrongdoing and plaintiffs in the Ecuadorian case have said the oil company is attacking him to avoid responsibility for the damages.

The racketeering case is Chevron v. Donziger, 11-00691, U.S. District Court, District of New York (Manhattan). The case in Ecuador is Aquinda v. Chevron, 002-2003, Superior Court of Nueva Loja, Lago Agrio, Ecuador.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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