Chevron Brazil faces criminal oil-spill charges, reinstated on appeal
* Charges had been dropped in 2013 after a settlement
* Chevron, 11 employees the subject of reopened case
* Oil agency approves Chevron restart of offshore wells
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 4 (Reuters) - Brazilian judges ordered a criminal prosecution of Chevron Corp. and 11 employees over an oil spill in Nov. 2011, in a process reinstated more than a year after being thrown out following a settlement with the government.
An appeals panel made the 2-to-1 decision in October, but kept it quiet as judges reviewed Chevron's challenges to their ruling, Brazil's public prosecutor's office, which oppposed the dismissal, said on Wednesday.
Chevron confirmed the ruling late on Thursday.
The case is likely to revive concern over the speed and security of Brazilian legal rulings.
The same prosecutor's office that drew up a settlement to help get the charges dropped is now working to re-open the criminal part of the case. Similar, and even larger, spills by other companies in Brazil have not led to criminal charges. Continuación...