The decades-long legal battle between Chevron and Ecuador took yet another dramatic turn on Monday when the company announced that it has videotapes revealing a $3 million bribery scheme implicating the judge overseeing a multibillion-dollar civil suit filed against the company by indigenous residents of the country’s Amazon Basin.

The latest turn has Chevron and its lawyers from Jones Day firing back against the 30,000 plaintiffs and their lawyers, as well as the Ecuadorean legal system. The case stems from environmental contamination allegedly caused by years of oil drilling in the region conducted by Texaco, which Chevron bought for nearly $35 billion in 2000. (Click here for a feature story on the case in The American Lawyer‘s Fall 2006 Litigation Supplement.)

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