March 18, 2012– Seventeen Chevron and Transocean executives were barred from leaving Brazil by a Brazilian court on Saturday. The seventeen must wait for criminal charges that are pending for last November’s oil spill. The Rio de Janeiro federal judge granted the prosecutor’s request to bar the executives from leaving the South American country. Eduardo Oliveira, the prosecutor wants the two companies to face criminal charges.
The Chevron Brazil head, George Buck and the 16 executives have to turn over their passports within the next 24 hours to police. On Tuesday or Wednesday, the prosecutor is expected to file charges.
The decision by the court came just one day after the navy of Brazil spotted oil in the ocean near the same oilfield were last year’s oil spill took place. Chevron said on Saturday that it had halted production at the Frade site.
Chevron announced that they have not received any formal notification of any judicial action. Its statement said the company would defend itself and its employees. Prosecutors are hoping to press criminal charges against Buck and the other executives from both Chevron and Transocean, the Swiss offshore drilling company.
A judge must decide whether to accept the prosecutions charges. The leak last November amounted to about 3,000 barrels and resulted in a civil lawsuit of over $11 billion.