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ALFRED DONOVAN LETTER TO COLIN JOSEPH OF D J FREEMAN: 23 NOVEMBER 1998

Mr Colin Joseph
D J Freeman
43 Fetter Lane
London EC4A 1JU

23rd November 1998

COPY LETTERS TO:
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE
THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY
THE OFFICE FOR THE SUPERVISION OF SOLICITORS
EVERY MP IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

Dear Mr Joseph

I acknowledge receipt of the letter dated 5th November and note the denial that D J Freeman had any connection with the spate of burglaries at the homes of individuals closely associated with the multimillion pounds High Court Action that my son has brought against your client, Shell UK Limited.

I also note the further threats to bring the Courts attention to the materials I am circulating outside the offices of your firm and Shell. As you can see from the above, I have decided to take the initiative myself in this regard. I have also sent copies to every MP to keep them informed of developments.

Following the commencement of the litigation we have been confronted by a series of sinister events which suggests that someone may be attempting to pervert the course of justice.  The sinister events commenced with the deception and trickery used by an undercover agent who visited my son’s offices and was caught examining private mailboxes. Another individual used false pretences to obtain information from my son’s solicitors and subsequently from our key witnesses.  These events were closely followed by threats against my son, his family and against his witnesses.

Then came the spate of suspicious burglaries. By what must have been a sheer fluke, the perpetrators of the most recent burglary searched for and found a document that your firm had unsuccessfully attempted to obtain via application to the Courts. Incidentally, I understand that you subsequently informed a journalist writing an article for the Guardian that D J Freeman will definitely obtain the document. This seems to be a bold statement when the time limit has apparently already passed for appealing the decision. For some reason, the document appears to be a very much sought after item.

Your firm and your client have denied any connection with these sinister events other than the initial undercover activity. My son has accepted your denials. I welcome them, but remain suspicious until such time as you have made full disclosure of relevant matters.

For example, while your firm has admitted that other agents have been active on our case, you have not been prepared to disclose the scope of the overall investigative activity or to confirm or deny whether my son’s home has been the subject of any form of surveillance. This has obvious significance in view of the possibility that one of your agents may have gone beyond the terms of a brief. In this connection, I am concerned that possibly as a result of surveillance and subterfuge at my son’s home, an undercover agent obtained details of his private bank account.  I would welcome your confirmation that your firm has no knowledge whatsoever about this.

It does not take a genius to recognise that these matters have become very serious. In this regard, I am aware that when the same journalist had a recent meeting at Shell-Mex House that covered the sinister events surrounding the litigation, you were personally present. The sensitivity attached to these matters can be gauged by the fact that two tape recorders were in operation during the interview.

Although my son and I have previously brought High Court actions against Shell, all of which have been settled in our favour or discontinued on terms favourable to us, this is the first time Shell has resorted to the underhand tactics that have been admitted.  Its senior management will have to decide whether it wants Shell to degenerate into an evil multinational organisation of the type sometimes portrayed in the movies, or whether it genuinely wants to rebuild its reputation following the Nigerian and Brent Spar debacles.

Although we have received written assurances of our physical well being from Mr Richard Wiseman, and have also received confirmation that Shell has carried out an internal investigation, I naturally remain anxious for our safety and that of our witnesses. I note that Mr Lazenby was questioned during the internal investigation at Shell-Mex House, but not by Richard Wiseman. Thank you for correcting the information given to us by the Police.

Mr Mark Moody-Stuart, the Chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, had the chance to disassociate Shell from the sleazy undercover activities that you instigated. He chose not to do so. He has also ignored the deceptions practised by your firm on Shell’s behalf and the recent false accusation about improper use of discovery documents. I guess it’s difficult for someone identified in the press as a £2.7 million per annum “fat cat” to exercise moral leadership.  He probably has to spend time wrestling with his conscience and pondering the ultimate challenge of passing through the eye of a needle.

Yours sincerely

Alfred Donovan

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