Chevron subsidiaries appeal Argentine asset freeze

Fri Nov 9, 2012 5:21pm EST
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* Argentine lawsuit stems from $19 bln ruling against Chevron

* Chevron says Ecuador judgment fraudulent, unenforceable

* Plaintiffs have also filed lawsuits in Canada and Brazil

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Two Chevron subsidiaries on Friday appealed a freeze on up to $19 billion worth of the company's assets in Argentina, part of an environmental lawsuit by Ecuadorean villagers that has spanned two decades and several countries.

The subsidiaries, Chevron Argentina and Ing. Norberto Priu, argued that they are not directly owned by Chevron Corp, which was the target of the litigation in Ecuador.

"Chevron Corp, the sole judgment debtor, has no assets in Argentina. All operations in Argentina are conducted by subsidiaries that have nothing to do with the fraudulent judgment in Ecuador," Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson said via email.

An Ecuadorean court last year ordered Chevron to pay $19 billion for the contamination of watersheds over nearly 30 years that the plaintiffs say sickened indigenous tribespeople and farmers in the Ecuadorean Amazon.

Chevron has refused to make any payments and accuses Ecuadorean courts of fraud. Because the company has few assets in the Andean nation, the plaintiffs are seeking enforcement of the ruling in other countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Canada.

An Argentine judge ordered the asset embargo on Wednesday.   Continued...