Last week, the Amazon Defense Coalition released a shocking whistleblower report about a former Chevron contractor caught on tape saying that he's been involved in attempts to corrupt the trial in Ecuador over the oil company's contamination in the Amazon.
Diego Borja, recorded by an old friend who was disgusted by Borja bragging that he was running an "operation" for Chevron, says the oil giant "cooked" evidence in the trial and threatens that if he isn't taken care of, he'll turn over evidence that would ensure victory for the Amazon communities suing Chevron for environmental clean-up.
In hours of recorded conversation and saved MSN chats between Borja and his whistleblower friend, Borja reveals many other troubling allegations; about how he set up at least four 'front' companies to manage Chevron's testing of contamination samples during the trial, how his wife worked for a U.S.-based lab that Chevron used for testing samples, how he lied to gain entry to the lab where the plaintiffs were testing their samples with his Florida-based Chevron boss (the company's Latin America offices are based in Coral Gables), and how Chevron is paying him the equivalent of $10,000 U.S. per month in Ecuador, and paying the rent on a $6,000/month house in a gated community minutes from Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, CA, where he isn't subject to a subpoena from the court in Ecuador hearing the case against Chevron.
The house where Chevron has kept its longtime contractor, Diego Borja, and his family hidden away near its headquarters in San Ramon, CA.
The whole thing stinks, and predictably, Chevron is paying for Borja's San Francisco criminal defense attorney, and keeping him hidden from reporters and investigators.
As Pablo Fajardo, lead attorney for the Amazon communities, says in a press release issued today,
"These revelations are extraordinarily concerning and Chevron must explain its actions to the court."
Borja says he has proof of his allegations against Chevron stored on his iPhone, as well as secreted away in Ecuador. He says his wife, Sara Portilla, also a former Chevron contractor and representative of the labs where Chevron had its samples "independently" analyzed, knows all about the evidence too.
I've written here before and on Huffington Post that Chevron has increasingly resorted to a 'kitchen sink' strategy in attempting to evade responsibility for its oil contamination in the Amazon; tying up the Ecuadorean courts with endless motions, claims, and delays, lobbying Capitol Hill to pull trade preferences to pressure Ecuador to quash the trial, and waging an aggressive public relations campaign to confuse the public about the case.
Now, with overwhelming evidence that it's responsible for massive, ongoing contamination at its former oil sites throughout the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, it seems that Chevron has been resorting to evidence tampering as well.
It's time for Chevron to produce Borja's iPhone and any other relevant evidence for the court.
Read this post on 'The Chevron Pit' for more excerpts from the transcripts of Diego Borja's conversations with his whistleblower friend.
Han Shan is Coordinator of the Clean Up Ecuador Campaign.