Chevron ordered to pay Ecuador $9.51 bn on appeal.

US oil giant Chevron Wednesday rejected as “illegitimate and unenforceable” an Ecuadoran court ruling ordering it to pay $9.51 billion for environmental damages to the Amazon by sister company Texaco.

The ruling is “as illegitimate and unenforceable today as it was when it was issued nearly three years ago,” company spokesman James Craig said in an email to AFP.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a 2012 decision against Texaco, which operated in the South American nation from 1964-1990, but dramatically reduced the amount to be paid in damages to $9.51 billion from $19 billion.

Chevron has never worked directly in Ecuador but inherited the pollution lawsuit when it acquired former rival Texaco in 2001. It is fighting against having to pay the fine.

Chevron maintains that Ecuador and its state oil company should pay the damages.

Just last month, Chevron was in court in New York trying to fight the fine.

Chevron wants a New York district judge to prevent lawyer Steven Donziger, Ecuadoran villagers and environmental activists from using the US courts to force Chevron to pay from its US operation, since it has almost no assets in Ecuador.

The New York case is the latest in years of litigation over pollution attributed to Texaco Petroleum, which worked in the Amazon from 1964 to 1990.

Thousands of villagers say they were sickened and many have cancer from the oil spillage’s effect on their water supply.

The case could have implications for lawsuits in Canada and Brazil, where the plaintiffs are going after Chevron’s assets.

Commentators say the case could help to determine the extent to which US courts can pass judgment on alleged misconduct of American multinationals abroad.

In the US District Court in New York, Chevron is alleging fraud and violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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