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Chevron officials to face criminal charges in Brazil for oil spill: report

Brazil prosecutors plan to file criminal charges, in addition to the $11 billion civil suit, against Chevron [corporate website] officials for the 2,400 barrel oil spill [Global Voices backgrounder] off the coast of Brazil in the Campos Basin in November. Brazilian officials state that Chevron acted irresponsibly [Reuters report] and took substantial risks in the Frade oil field in the Campos Basin. Up to 12 Chevron officials are expected to be indicted. In contrast, British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website] agreed to set aside $20 billion [JURIST report] for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], which was 1,000 times larger than the Frade spill, and no BP officials have faced criminal charges.

Chevron is also currently appealing an $18 billion fine [JURIST report] for pollution in the Amazon jungle. The judgment against Chevron was upheld in January by a three-judge panel of the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. The $18 billion fine, one of the largest in the history of environmental contamination suits, was originally set at $8.6 billion [JURIST report] but was more than doubled for Chevron's refusal to pay "moral reparations" to the Ecuadorian government, as required by the original ruling. The Amazon Defense Coalition [advocacy website], plaintiffs in the suit, have responded that the first judgment was a reaffirmation of how Chevron's greed and criminal misconduct in dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the river has led to death and disease. Damages were initially awarded in February by the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios which found that Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron in 2001, polluted large areas of the country's rain forest.

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