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Chevron Corp. asks NY ethics body to begin probe into state comptroller

ALBANY, New York -- Chevron Corp. asked New York's ethics commission Tuesday to investigate state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, claiming he improperly pushed the energy giant to settle an US$18 billion Ecuadorean court claim for environmental damage in the Amazon rainforest.

San Ramon, California-based Chevron said that DiNapoli is sole trustee of the US$150 billion state fund, which owns more than US$800 million in Chevron stock, and that the comptroller violated duty by backing shareholder resolutions to settle the lawsuit and appoint an environmental specialist to the corporation's board. The resolutions failed.

According to the complaint, DiNapoli received more than US$60,000 in campaign contributions from supporters of the plaintiffs in the Ecuadorean lawsuit. Chevron also said DiNapoli's office received offers of trips to Ecuador, political benefits and access to celebrities — the musician Sting and his wife.

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