Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chevron | Transocean | Brazil | Criminal Charges and Police Seeking Indictments (Reuters)

Rio police seek to indict Chevron, Transocean officials

SAO PAULO | Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:56am EST

(Reuters) - Federal police in Brazil on Wednesday recommended the indictment of several Chevron and Transocean officials involved in an oil spill in early November for environmental crimes and withholding information in an investigation.

The indictment is unrelated to a civil suit brought against the companies by a public prosecutor on December 14, seeking fines of $11 billion for their alleged roles in the spill at Chevron's Frade field off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

This latest legal action against Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, and Transocean, one of the world's biggest drillers, for a 3,000-barrel spill that never reached Brazilian beaches highlights the major political risks of operating in Brazil.

Head of the investigation for the federal police in Rio de Janeiro Fabio Scliar said on Wednesday he submitted his report to the Federal Public Ministry recommending that it bring charges against the two companies and its employees.

"I affirmed my conviction ... of environmental crimes and withholding information," Scliar told Reuters by phone.

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