Chevron Brazil Faces Criminal Oil-Spill Charges, Reinstated on Appeal


RIO DE JANEIRO, April 4 (Reuters) – Brazilian judges ordered a criminal prosecution of Chevron Corp. and 11 employees over an oil spill in Nov. 2011, in a process reinstated more than a year after being thrown out following a settlement with the government.

An appeals panel made the 2-to-1 decision in October, but kept it quiet as judges reviewed Chevron's challenges to their ruling, Brazil's public prosecutor's office, which opposed the dismissal, said on Wednesday.

Chevron confirmed the ruling late on Thursday.

The case is likely to revive concern over the speed and security of Brazilian legal rulings.

The same prosecutor's office that drew up a settlement to help get the charges dropped is now working to re-open the criminal part of the case. Similar, and even larger, spills by other companies in Brazil have not led to criminal charges.

"The prosecutors are trying to show that the defendants' arguments that there is no proof of an environmental crime are wrong," the prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors say their evidence shows the defendants are responsible for environmental pollution.


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