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ShellNews.net: Oil Company Sleuths

I read with interest the story by Liz Chong published by The Times on Saturday 4 March 2006 under the headline: “Sleuths step out of the dustbins and into the limelight “ – accessible via the link below.
http://www.tellshell.net/blog/_archives/2006/3/4/1796029.html
The story mentions the decision by the US Justice Department to prosecute James Giffen under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Giffen has been accused of funnelling $60 million in bribes to the President of Kazakhstan on behalf of several oil majors, including Mobil Oil, Shell and Chevron.
It is certainly not unknown for oil companies to use agents to engage in underhand activities. For example, the Sunday Times published a story on 17 June 2001 revealing that an undercover agent had carried out spying missions on behalf of Shell (and BP) against perceived enemies such as Greenpeace and The Body Shop. There was even a link to Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian who was hanged by a corrupt Nigerian regime after leading a campaign against Shell’s activities in the Nigerian Delta. Shell and BP admitted using the relevant spy/saboteur, who operated under a code name. The article can be accessed via the link below.
http://shellnews.net/2004 Documents/sundaytimes/sundaytimesspied8april.htm
An article published by The Mail On Sunday (4 April 2004) revealed how Sir Philip Watts used police spies as part of a private police force armed by Shell to pursue its disgraceful policies in Nigeria. Sir Philip was subsequently sacked as Group Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group as a result of the reserves fraud being revealed in January 2004. The relevant article is accessible via the link below.

http://shellnews.net/2004 Documents/mailonsunday/mailonsundayarmy4april.htm

My son John and I also had problems with Shell undercover activity. The following is an extract from an email received on 11 November 2005 from Shell International General Counsel, Mr. Richard Wiseman. He sent copies of his email to the Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc Mr. Jeroen van der Veer and the Chief Executive of Shell Exploration & Production, Mr. Malcolm Brinded.
FROM SHELL GENERAL COUNSEL RICHARD WISEMAN: “Dear Mr Donovan, While you, or John, may have complained to the police about “sinister activities” around the time of previous campaigns, as we said at the time and repeat now, there is no substance in the allegation that Shell had anything to do with such activities. The work done by our enquiry agent was entirely legal and conventional in the context of the litigation.”
The “enquiry agent” in question used the name of “Christopher Phillips” (if that was his real name). This gentleman was caught red handed checking private mail at our offices. He produced a business card which stated that he was a director of Cofton Consultants. This information proved to be completely fake. Using false pretences he integrogated staff with personal questions about us which definitely did not come under the heading of routine activities by an “enquiry agent”. As I pointed out in my response (copied to Van der Veer and Brinded) false pretences and fake documents are neither legal nor conventional (except in the context of “The Rockford Files” on TV).
Shell admitted in writing the relevant undercover “activities” but denied any knowledge of a mass of other undercover operations (there was also a series of burglaries) which perverted the course of justice in respect of High Court litigation then in progress between Shell and my son and I.
As is clear from The Times article, it is now routine practice for big companies to use private investigators. Apparently having a financial advantage over opponents is not enough. Multinational giants are now using underhand tactics to investigate and intimidate adversaries. In my opinion that is unethical and a breach of human rights.

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