Chevron, the oil giant, has called on a U.S. court to dismiss a case brought by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is hoping to force the firm to release footage of the murder of prominent political commentator Kem Ley, who was killed at one of its gas stations in Cambodia last year.
Chevron has argued that it does not possess the footage in question, which it claims was removed from the premises on the day of the murder, July 10.
Negotiations between Chevron’s defense team and Rainsy’s lawyers reached an impasse after the court extended a deadline for a decision in the case to March 31.
Chevron lawyer Andrea Neuman said in a statement that “The parties’ negotiations ultimately came to an impasse.”
The defense requested the court quash the case “entirely,” according to a proposed order prepared for Judge Donna Ryu ahead of a hearing on May 25.
Rainsy’s counsel, Eva Schueller, made the application to force Chevron to release the footage late last year. The Caltex gas station where Ley was murdered is owned by Chevron (Cambodia) Limited, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation.
“Cambodian police confiscated the recording equipment and video footages at the gas station, and has forbidden Chevron (Cambodia) from copying or disclosing picture/footage to the public,” according to a statement signed by the gas station manager.
Chevron has submitted a number of press articles to the court to support its call for dismissal, arguing that as footage from the gas station was played during the trial of the murder suspect, Oeut Ang, “which served to widely publicize key details underlying the application,” another Chevron lawyer, Willian Thompson, said in a statement.
Chevron denied that it has any influence over its subsidiary in Cambodia.
“Chevron (Cambodia) Ltd. is a separate legal entity from Chevron Corporation, with its own management, supervisory, and employee structures,” said Frank Soler, a Chevron’s senior liaison, in his statement to the court. “Chevron Corporation owns neither the assets nor the stock of Chevron (Cambodia) Ltd.”