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Chevron welcomes Ecuadorian probe

SAN RAMON, Calif., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Chevron welcomes a decision by authorities in Ecuador to launch a formal investigation into an alleged $3 billion scheme against the company, officials say.

Chevron presented evidence to the government in Ecuador that the company says indicates a judge involved in a lawsuit against the supermajor was involved in bribes with prosecutors.

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Charles James, executive vice president at Chevron, said he welcomed a decision by the prosecutor general to open a formal investigation into the claims.

"We hope that his investigation will be thorough, independent and transparent, and that he makes his findings public," he said.

Chevron delivered video recordings to authorities that suggest Juan Nunez, an Ecuadorian judge presiding over an environmental lawsuit, was part of a bribery scheme.

The recordings also show representatives allegedly from the Alianza PAIS ruling party in Ecuador seeking $3 million in bribes in exchange for environmental remediation contracts following the verdict.

The company went on to express disappointment that Alexis Mera, a legal adviser to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, said in statements to local reporters the recordings have "no legal value."

"As legal adviser to President Correa, Mera must recognize that his statements to the media only raise further concerns of prejudgment and government involvement in the (trial)," said James.

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