UPDATE 2-Ecuador plaintiffs to sue Chevron in Argentina, Colombia

Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:57pm EDT
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* Plaintiffs filed lawsuits in Canada and Brazil this year

* Chevron spokesman accuses plaintiffs' lawyers of "fraud"

* Legal saga spans nearly two decades

By Eduardo Garcia and Guido Nejamkis

QUITO/BUENOS AIRES, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean plaintiffs plan to sue Chevron in Argentina and Colombia to collect a $19 billion award for pollution in the Amazon that has become one of the world's most high-profile environmental cases against an oil company.

A 2011 decision by an Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay the sum for contamination of watersheds and inappropriate disposing of oil industry waste during crude oil production i n a remote jungle region during nearly 30 years.

Because Chevron has few assets in Ecuador that can be taken as compensation, the plaintiffs are trying to get the ruling enforced in other countries. Chevron calls the ruling unenforceable and illegitimate.

"Last year Chevron made $26 billion, with these kinds of profits the sentence could be paid in a question of months," Enrique Bruchou, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told reporters in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.