Chevron PR spokesman Kent Robertson’s constant efforts to spin court proceedings to fit his company’s twisted version of events in Ecuador may be about to blow up in his face in a big way.
Perceiving a small victory for his obscenely profitable oil company over the Indigenous and rural Ecuadoreans seeking justice for the deliberate polluting of their rainforest home, Robertson sent sealed court materials to a reporter for Courthouse News. This in and of itself was illegal and possibly punishable by sanctions.
But it’s what Robertson inadvertently revealed to the Courthouse News reporter that was the real blunder. The sealed materials include emails from Wayne Hansen to an unnamed Chevron contact. Hansen is a cohort of Chevron’s self-described “dirty tricks guy,” Diego Borja. That means that, in effect, Kent Robertson might have just waived the attorney-client privilege Chevron has been claiming in order to keep Borja and Hansen’s actions under wraps throughout the process of “discovery” in the courts. Lawyers for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs have already filed motions asking the court to “dissolve the protective order governing disclosure of Diego Borja’s discovery materials.”
The contents of Hansen’s emails to his Chevron handler clearly show that he was engaged in some sort of underhanded activity on behalf of the company, was expecting a big payday, and, at the time of writing, fears he may have been left out in the cold. Han Shan reports over at the Chevron In Ecuador blog:
Explosive emails from Wayne Hansen, an American con-man who partnered with a Chevron contractor in an attempt to entrap a judge presiding in the trial over the company’s contamination, reveal that Hansen believes he has been “duped” by the oil giant, “left out” of a “deal” offered to his Ecuadorian partner-in-crime, and now fears for his life.
In the weeks after he and an Ecuadorian Chevron contractor named Diego Borja executed their scheme, Hansen writes to his contact at Chevron:
“I have been waiting for your call, you said you would call me. … It seems that the oil co has cut a deal with Diego and I have not heard a word from anyone but Diego. What am I to think?”
As you can tell, there’s got to be more where that came from. Kent Robertson’s mistake might ultimately end up unraveling Chevron’s entire legal strategy for denying justice to the residents of the Ecuadorean Amazon. Once the full scope of Borja and Hansen’s actions on behalf of Chevron are exposed, it’s almost certain to be very damaging for the Big Oil behemoth, and very good for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs.
Borja once bragged to a friend that he has evidence that could win the case for the plaintiffs “just like that”– and it’s caught on tape. He’s also on tape discussing cooking evidence on behalf of Chevron and setting up dummy corporations to hide his efforts on behalf of the company. But it was Borja’s attempted bribe of an Ecuadorean judge, along with Hansen, that is his most notorious endeavor yet.
You might recall Borja went to great lengths to avoid being compelled to testify before the court in the first place. After his attempted bribery of the Ecuadorean judge fell apart (which didn’t stop Chevron from trying to pass it off as legitimate evidence of corruption in Ecuador’s judicial system anyway, certainly one of the company’s most shameful PR stunts to date), Borja was whisked away to the USA, where he was put up in a posh condo in the shadow of Chevron’s California headquarters. But when news of the impending subpoena reached Borja, he fled his fancy Chevron-sponsored digs to avoid being served. Ultimately Borja was dragged before a judge, who ordered him to divulge what he knows.
Since then, we’ve heard very little of Borja or Hansen, thanks to the court order sealing his testimony. But Kent Robertson may have just made it a lot easier for us to discover what secrets Borja is keeping for Chevron. Stay tuned.