A lawsuit by a group of Ecuadorans to seize Chevron’s Canadian assets can proceed in the country, a Canadian court ruled Tuesday.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario said the 47 villagers have the right to pursue Chevron’s Canada assets. The decision reverses a May 1 ruling that stated the company did not have any assets in Canada.
A court in the South American country in 2011 found the company liable for about three decades of soil and water pollution near oil wells that ruined the health and livelihoods of Amazon rain-forest dwellers. Since then, Ecuadoran farmers and fishermen have been trying to collect $19 billion in environmental damages from San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron, the world’s third-largest oil company. The award was reduced to $9.5 billion from $19 billion Nov. 12 by the National Court of Justice, Ecuador’s highest tribunal.
“Even before the Ecuadorean judgment was released, Chevron, speaking through a spokesman, stated that Chevron intended to contest the judgment if Chevron lost,” Canadian judges James MacPherson, Eileen Gillese and C. William Hourigan said in Tuesday’s ruling.
The judges noted in the ruling that a Chevron spokesman had said: “We’re going to fight this until hell freezes over. And then we’ll fight it out on the ice.”
Chevron’s wish is granted, the judges said.
“After all these years, the Ecuadorean plaintiffs deserve to have recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorean judgment heard on the merits in an appropriate jurisdiction. At this juncture, Ontario is that jurisdiction,” the ruling states.
— Bloomberg News
● The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it levied a record $3.4 billion in sanctions in enforcement cases in the latest fiscal year, up 10 percent from the previous year. The sanctions were boosted in part by a more than $600 million settlement with a unit of hedge fund SAC Capital, $525 million with BP and a $200 million fine of JPMorgan Chase.
● Microsoft, which is seeking a successor for chief executive Steve Ballmer, said it anticipates completing the search in the early part of 2014. Lead independent director John Thompson, who is heading Microsoft’s CEO search committee, wrote in a blog post that the Redmond, Wash.-based company has identified more than 100 candidates, talked with several dozen and has since focused on about 20 individuals, whom he deemed “extremely impressive in their own right.”
● The federal jury in the insider-trading trial of SAC Capital Advisors fund manager Michael Steinberg began deliberating in Manhattan federal court. Steinberg, 41, is charged with receiving inside information about technology stocks from his securities analyst and using the illegal tips to earn more than $1.4 million in illicit profits.
● 3M, a maker of goods from electronics to dental braces, jumped 2.9 percent to close at $131.39 a share, the most in almost two years, after increasing its quarterly dividend by 35 percent and signaling plans to spend more to spur growth. 3M said Tuesday that it will spend up to $10 billion on acquisitions through 2017 and repurchase as much as $22 billion of shares.
● Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman is getting a huge raise as she enters the third year of her attempt to turn around the slumping personal-computer and printer maker. Whitman’s annual salary is soaring to $1.5 million from the $1 that she settled for during her first two years on the job, according to regulatory documents filed Tuesday. HP said the bigger paycheck will make Whitman’s salary comparable to what CEOs of similar-size companies make.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: Housing starts for November released.
● 2 p.m.: Federal Reserve policymakers’ meeting announcement released.
● 2:30 p.m.: Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke news conference.