SAN RAMON – Chevron Corporation has officially announced that they have reached a settlement agreement with Woodsford Litigation Funding Limited, a U.K.-based litigation funder that provided $2.5 million in funding to the fraudulent lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador. Chevron brought conspiracy claims against Woodsford in Gibraltar for the company’s role in funding and advancing the fraudulent lawsuit. In the settlement Woodsford has resolved those claims by withdrawing all financial support related to the Ecuador litigation and assigning all of its interest in the litigation to Chevron. Chevron, in turn, has agreed to release all of its claims against Woodsford and Woodsford’s Gibraltar-based funding entity, Temeraire Limited.
“We are pleased that yet another financial supporter of this fraudulent lawsuit has ended its involvement,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel. “In settling this matter Woodsford is the latest in a growing list of former funders, investors, scientific experts and legal counsel who have abandoned this illicit scheme.”
Woodsford began funding the fraudulent lawsuit in March 2013. A year later, on March 4, 2014, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador was the product of fraud and racketeering activity, finding it unenforceable in the United States and holding Steven Donziger, the lead lawyer behind the lawsuit, liable for RICO violations.
In settling this matter, Woodsford is the latest party, among many others, to disassociate from Donziger and the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs. In 2011 Burford Capital Limited, another U.K.-based litigation funder, withdrew its financial support after learning of Donziger’s misconduct.
In February 2015 Russell DeLeon, who invested approximately $23 million in the lawsuit in exchange for a 7 percent stake in the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment, withdrew his financial support. Woodsford, Burdford and DeLeon all repudiated the unethical tactics of Donziger and abandoned their financial interest in the fraudulent lawsuit. Both Woodsford and DeLeon have agreed to transfer any proceeds they receive from the litigation to Chevron upon its request.