PartyPoker Founder Sued by Chevron Over Alleged Fraud

Written by:
Ace King
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PartyPoker Founder Sued by Chevron Over Alleged Fraud

A judge in Gibraltar has that oil giant Chevron can move forward with a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from PartyPoker (now Bwin.Party) co-founder Russell DeLeon in connection with his financing what the oil company says was a liability suit that ultimately turned into a racketeering conspiracy.

From BusinessWeek:

To sustain a two-decade legal and publicity campaign against Chevron over oil pollution in Ecuador, plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Donziger has relied on all manner of creative financing. He has sold slices of the case to individual investors and to hedge funds. Now one of those investors, an American transplant in Gibraltar who made a fortune in the online gambling business, may be sorry he ever heard about the Amazonian contamination case.

Dozinger allegedly orchestrated a conspiracy that involved bribes, coercion, and fabricated evidence. In 2011, Donziger’s clients—thousands of poor farmers and indigenous tribe members—won a $19 billion judgment against the company in a provincial courthouse in the city of Lago Agrio.

Chevron is looking to not only nullify the Ecuadorian judgment, but to also punish DeLeon for what they deem was his “aiding in the Dozinger fraud”.

“A U.S. federal court in New York has ruled that the judgment against Chevron in Ecuador is the product of a fraudulent scheme intended to extort billions of dollars from the company,” Morgan Crinklaw, a Chevron spokesman, said in an email to BusinessWeek. “Chevron believes that the perpetrators of that scheme should be held accountable for knowingly advancing the fraud.”

Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for Donziger, said via email: “Chevron’s case against Mr. DeLeon is yet another attempt by Chevron to retaliate against anybody who tries to help the [Ecuadorian] communities hold Chevron accountable for its environmental crimes and wrongdoing, as found by three layers of courts in Ecuador.”

DeLeon and his wife, Ruth Parasol, started PartyPoker in 1997.  The couple is in the midst of a divorce and both recently sold their shares in the company.  The two placed their stakes of about 7 per cent each into trusts to be sold over the course of three years.

- Ace King,

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