The lawsuit against Exxon turns to the dismay for the floor of New York

The multinational was accused of underestimating in its accounts the cost of global warming. Most charges have been dropped.

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Exxon's lawyer, Theodore Wells (left), leaves the New York Supreme Court on November 7.
Exxon's lawyer, Theodore Wells (left), leaves the New York Supreme Court on November 7. BRENDAN MCDERMID / REUTERS


The lawsuit against Exxon turned Thursday, Nov. 7, to the outburst for the state of New York that initiated the proceedings, accusing the multinational of having underestimated in its accounts the cost of global warming. On the final day of the trial, New York Vice-Attorney Jonathan Zweig caused a stir by revealing, as if nothing had happened, that he was abandoning three out of four indictments against Exxon: company had deliberately and knowingly misled investors about the true cost to the company of warming; that investors had been misled by buying shares on the basis of this false information; that there had been deception in civil law.

Only remains a charge based on a specific legislation in the state of New York, the Martin Act, which does not require proof of fraudulent intent or that investors have been deceived.

Advantage of the multinational

The scene, reported by the Bloomberg agency, took place when prosecutor Zweig, after three weeks of trial, explained that he would focus in his conclusions only on the Martin Act.

– "I do not want to interrupt you", says Judge Barry Ostrager, who will make his own judgment, "But there are three other charges brought by the prosecution in its complaint. Are you going to deal with these leaders as well? "

"I'm going to focus on the Martin Act"responds the prosecutor.

"Is it a recognition that there is no civil fraud? "asks the judge.

" Yes, your honor "Replies the prosecutor.

Exxon's Lawyer, Theodore Wells, who refuses to allow these charges to be dropped, after a trial largely turned to the advantage of the multinational, including Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State of Donald Trump until March 2018, Group CEO from 2006 to 2016 and trial witness. The prosecutor's tactic is to prevent the court from laundering Exxon on these matters. Exxon's lawyer is furious, accusing the prosecution of having " harassed The company for years. "It's a cruel farce, your honor, because the reputation of many people very well has been affected by the engagement of this lawsuit"Wells protested.

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«Parody of climate lawsuit»

Opened on October 23 in New York, the lawsuit was intended to be the counterpart of the lawsuits against the multinationals of the tobacco. Exxon was criticized for misleading investors by underestimating the cost that the company would have to bear as a result of the foreseeable tightening of legislation to combat greenhouse gas emissions. This misleading presentation would have led to overvaluing the group's actions and favoring its financing, to the detriment of companies engaged in the energy transition.


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