September 15, 2009 6:33 PM
Men Behind Alleged Ecuador Bribery Videos Lawyer Up
Posted by Brian Baxter
Two San Francisco Bay Area lawyers best known for representing clients in performance-enhancing drug cases have been retained by individuals that secretly videotaped an alleged bribery scheme in Ecuador related to a mammoth environmental mass torts case against Chevron.
A statement released by a plaintiffs group in the case states that Diego Borja and Wayne Hansen have retained Cristina Arguedas and Mary McNamara, respectively, as the fallout grows over recordings released by Chevron two weeks ago.
Arguedas, a name partner at Berkeley's Arguedas, Cassman, & Headley, told The Am Law Daily that she was leaving for vacation and had not yet decided whether she would comment on the matter.
Arguedas has a string of high-profile clients to her resume, representing former Hewlett-Packard general counsel Ann Baskins in the company's pretexting scandal, former Apple legal chief Nancy Heinen on options-backdating charges, and ex-Milberg partner David Bershad in a kickback scheme.
She currently represents former baseball star Barry Bonds on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. (Not surprisingly, when the San Francisco Chronicle listed the top 25 lawyers in the Bay Area a few years ago, Arguedas placed in the top five on that list.)
According to the plaintiffs' in the Chevron case, Hansen has turned to McNamara of San Francisco's Swanson, McNamara & Haller. Along with partner Edward Swanson, she represented BALCO founder Victor Conte in a steroids distribution investigation that ensnared several high-profile athletes, including Bonds.
McNamara was in a client meeting and did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the lawyer previously confirmed to Bloomberg that she's representing Hansen.
Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson told The Am Law Daily that the company would consider covering legal costs for both Borja and Hansen should they incur them, given the fact that it would only be fair since the two men came to Chevron with the recordings.
Plaintiffs in the case have called for an investigation of Chevron's relationship with both men. Chevron claims that it has no relationship with Hansen and that Borja did some contracting work for the San Ramon, Calif.-based energy giant.
Robertson says that any investigation should focus on the individuals in Ecuador who allegedly solicited bribes in return for rendering an unfavorable decision against Chevron in the case.
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