Chevron Employs Felon and Drug-Trafficker to Derail Trial to Escape Enviro Crimes
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To defend itself in a major environmental lawsuit in Ecuador, it appears that American oil giant Chevron is employing methods -- and people -- that are as dirty as the toxic waste pits it left scattered across the rainforest floor.
In early September, I wrote here about a dramatic last-ditch attempt by Chevron to monkey-wrench legal proceedings in Ecuador over massive oil contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Chevron is facing up to $27 billion dollars in damages to clean up what has become known as the ' Amazon Chernobyl,' where tens of thousands of indigenous people and campesinos suffer an epidemic of cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, and other ailments.
On August 31, just weeks before a final judgment had been expected in the case, Chevron posted on YouTube what at first appeared to be a 'smoking gun' spy video, which Chevron said showed the judge in the case ensnared in a bribery scandal.
Except, as I wrote before, it didn't:
The company instead revealed videos showing a former Chevron contractor named Diego Borja and an American businessman named Wayne Hansen, who appear to be trying fruitlessly to entrap the presiding Judge, Juan Nuñez. Borja and Hansen secretly shot the videos themselves using a spy-camera pen and watch they bought in a catalog. In the videos, Borja introduced Mr. Hansen as an executive of an American groundwater remediation company willing to provide a kickback for a government contract to clean up the oil contamination left behind by Texaco, now Chevron. The California-based oil giant claimed the videos showed obvious government bias, corruption and judicial misconduct and called for an annulment of the judge's rulings in the case.
But almost immediately, the entire supposed "corruption scandal" began unraveling.
As The New York Times wrote:
The two mysterious businessmen, who used watches and pens implanted with bugging devices to make the recordings, have refused to explain their motivations for going to the furtive meetings in Quito and a jungle outpost to discuss a bribery plot. And now, with questions mounting, one of them has enlisted a lawyer who has represented Barry Bonds.
The article doesn't mention that Chevron agreed to pay for both Borja and Hansen's criminal defense lawyers, though it does explain that the company had paid Borja, its former contractor, "an undisclosed amount for moving and living expenses so he could safely move his family out of Ecuador."
And now for the latest bombshell. "American businessman" and "remediation expert" Wayne Hansen is neither. Rather, he is a convicted felon and drug trafficker, with a "litany of legal troubles," according to the Associated Press. From the Associated Press:
Court records show that Hansen, 62, pleaded guilty to charges of facilitating the importation of marijuana in a 1987 case in Brownsville, Texas. A co-defendant said that Hansen was in charge of buying a DC-7 that prosecutors alleged would be used to fly 275,000 pounds (124,740 kilos) of marijuana to the United States from Colombia.
Hansen, a U.S. citizen who served 19 months in federal prison in that case, also lost civil lawsuits charging him with unleashing two pitbulls on a neighbor and her golden retriever, and with tearing up the walls of another person's house with a jackhammer, according to California county court records and the plaintiffs.
And just in case you suspect that Mr. Hansen may have reformed, and is trying to make good as an honest businessman, "An AP investigation also has found no evidence that Wayne Douglas Hansen worked in his professed field of environmental remediation."