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Email correspondence on 16, 17 & 18 June 2008 with Shell International Limited General Counsel Richard Wiseman

EMAIL ON 16 JUNE 2008 FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO RICHARD WISEMAN, GENERAL COUNSEL, SHELL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED 

From: John Donovan  [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent:  16 June 2008 16:14
To:  Wiseman, Richard RM SI-LMAPF; Brandjes, Michiel CM RDS-LC
Cc: Alfred   Donovan
Subject: For your information

Dear Mr Wiseman  

We have decided to  publish on the internet a great deal more of the background information about our dealings with Shell.

It is initially being assembled on the following webpage…

http://www.shellnews.net/images/imagesfile.html

The   content is far from being in a finished state and new information involving a large volume of news articles, court papers, witness statements, including your own, and from other key witnesses, including David Pirret, will be added over time. The file will grow considerably each day. For example, I have just added a link to the High Court Writ we issued against Shell just over a decade   ago.

http://www.shellnews.net/images/imagesfile.html   

A number of other parties will be downloading information from  the  images webpage rather than us supplying it to them by mail. It is now the cheapest way of making such information available, costing nothing but our time. One party is an American author of several books. He plans to write a book about our website. No doubt the relevant parties will make themselves known to Shell in due course.

We also have more official documents proving the close association between Shell and the Hakluyt spy firm who have carried out for Shell the type of sinister cloak and dagger activities directed at us and our witnesses during the run up to the June/July 1999 trial. These will be put on the webpage within the next 24 hours or so.  As you may recall, the Police carried out an investigation. When cornered, you and Colin Joseph admitted the undercover activities of Mr Christopher Phillips, but denied Shell had any involvement with the other extensive undercover activity. I refer to the intimidation and the series of burglaries in which Shell related documents were tampered with. By coincidence or otherwise, even the residence of the solicitor representing me was burgled. Mr Joseph admitted other agents were working on our case, but declined to reveal the brief given to them.

Despite the gravity of these events, when we and our solicitors were besieged by undercover agents, Shell did not disclose to the Police its close association with Hakluyt. If Shell had done so, Sir Peter Holmes and Sir William Purves would have been interviewed bearing in mind that they were the spymasters at Hakluyt at the same time as being directors of Shell Transport. I will be adding to the images file the letter we coincidentally wrote to Sir Peter Holmes in 1998 seeking his intervention. He must have laughed at our naivety.

The volume of information being added to the images file is such, including a complete transcript of the trial  (with the Judges Comments) that it will take time to complete, but we now have the technology to put it all on the Internet. Selected information from the webpage will be transferred and published on our main website so that it reaches a wider audience and of course is also picked up by the search engines.

No doubt you will let me know if you object to any aspect of these plans and if so, the basis for the objection.  If I do not hear from you or Mr Brandjes within the next 24 hours, I will assume Shell has no problem or objection to what we are doing, as revealed herein.     

Regards
John Donovan

REPLY FROM RICHARD WISEMAN 16 JUNE 2008

On 16/06/2008 16:42, “[email protected]” <[email protected]> wrote:

Thank you for letting me know.  I assume that if you are creating a complete archive you will include a copy of the Comments of Mr Justice Laddie (as he then was) of 6 July 1999.

Regards  
Richard Wiseman

Legal Services
Shell International Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered Office, Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA
Company number 3075807

RESPONSE FROM JOHN DONOVAN ON 17 JUNE 2008

From: Alfred Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 17 June 2008 01:16
To: Wiseman, Richard RM SI-LMAPF; Alfred Donovan
Cc: Brandjes, Michiel CM RDS-LC
Subject: Re: For your information

Dear Mr Wiseman

THE TRANSCRIPT KNOWN AS THE “JUDGES COMMENTS”

Although pleased you have not quibbled about my account of events, I see that once again you have the “Judges Comments” on your mind and once again have opened a can of worms.

I had in fact already stated my intention in that regard as can be seen in my email. Since it seems unlikely that a veteran barrister of your vast experience and skill would have missed the reference I placed in brackets to make it more prominent, I can only assume that you deliberately mentioned the subject to emphasize the importance you attach to them.

It may be a delicate matter, but it was of course your ill considered decision to raise the Judges Comments with a third party company (you could not resist the temptation on that occasion either) that breached the peace treaty and in turn led to our website and the dire impact it has had on Shell.

At the time the Judge made his one-sided comments, he was unaware of the true settlement terms. One document was completely withheld from him. We know this because the actual documents put before him were listed in the transcript of the Judges Comments. Mr Justice Laddie did not know that Shell had agreed to pay my legal fees or that I would receive a payment. I had made it plain to my legal team that I would not enter into a compromise settlement without my legal fees being paid and without receiving a payment.

The transcript of the Judges Comments also reveal the blazing exchanges between the Judge and my lead barrister Geoffrey Cox (now known as Geoffrey Cox QC MP). Mr Cox exposed the comments as being outrageously impartial. The row which erupted in open court moved into the Judges chambers and only subsided when the Judge was told the true circumstances of the settlement, as opposed to the so called “joint press statement”, the content of which was false and designed by Shell to deceive the media, its employees and shareholders. In my experience, a fairly typical Shell press statement. I understand that the Judge revealed that his clerk, Peter Smith, who had been present in court throughout the trial, had drawn on an entirely conclusion about who was giving perjured testimony.  

As you know, we wrote to the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer some time after the trial to complain about the conduct of the Judge and the importance of having a fair trial before an impartial Judge.

We pointed out the charade carried out in Court by the legal team acting for Shell. An attempt was made at entrapment. Geoffrey Hobbs QC was informed in a stage whisper by a solicitor from DJ Freeman that a messenger on a motorbike was on route from Sainsbury’s with evidence which would prove I had committed fraud. That was the inference of the stage whisper. I heard what was said, as did the Judge and my legal team. Mr Justice Laddie said: “I have very acute hearing. I am deliberately not listening, but I am also immensely inquisitive and I am finding it hard.”  As you know, a well-known forensic expert Dr Aubrey Giles later scientifically examined the letters in question and said that there was no foundation to the allegation. I will publish her report alongside the related information.

In fact there was no messenger, no motorbike and no documents on route. It was all a total fabrication. The Judge did not make any indication of displeasure in open court about the disgraceful deception played on him, the court and on me, by Shell’s seedy solicitors now known as Kendall Freeman. Please feel free to disassociate yourself with the deception. I know you were present in court for almost the entire trial and I believe you were present at that point, which was the climax of my cross-examination. But I could be wrong. Perhaps you were not in on the deceit?

It is also a matter of deep concern that the Judge never revealed his commercial connection with Tom Moody-Stuart, the barrister son of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart. This was despite the fact that a letter from Lady Judy Moody-Stuart to my father was given to the Judge soon after the trial commenced. The degree of personal animosity between the Moody-Stuart family and my family was clear from the correspondence and should have set alarm bells ringing given his connection with a member of the Moody-Stuart family. However the Judge did not recuse himself.  

Neither did he disclose that a long time friend, IP Consultant Tony Willoughby, had Shell as a client. By coincidence or otherwise, sometime after our letter to Lord Falconer, Mr Laddie resigned from being a High Court Judge in controversial circumstances.  Shortly thereafter he joined Willoughby & Partners, which as far as I know, still has Shell as a client. He has also had a more recent commercial relationship with you.

Of course we should take into account that it is a small mostly London based club of lawyers involved in such specialist matters and it must result in what some might view as rather incestuous relationships.  However, I am sure Professor Sir Hugh Laddie QC as he is now known, would never deliberately act improperly in any way.

I am however concerned that subliminal prejudice led to inappropriate conduct by him during the latter stages of the trial as spelt out in the letter to the Lord Chancellor, which will also be published on the same webpage in due course.

We were entitled to a fair trial free of intimidation and deception. That was not what occurred and because of the underhand tactics used by Shell, we were placed at a disadvantage in negotiating the settlement dramatically proposed by Shell to bring an end to the cross-examination of the dishonest Shell manager at the heart of all the claims, AJL.

As you may recall, the documentary evidence and testimony covered the conspiracy masterminded by AJL to deceive companies who thought they were participating in a fairly conducted tender process for a major Shell contract. The contract was instead awarded to an agency that AJL had a close personal relationship with and which had not even been in the tender process. This was like a horse winning a race in which it had not run.

We had a mutually beneficial business relationship with Shell for over a decade before the arrogant, unprofessional and thoroughly dishonest Shell manager AJL arrived on the scene.

Regards
John Donovan

REPLY FROM RICHARD WISEMAN ON 17 JUNE 2008

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2008 09:53:04 +0200
To: <[email protected]>
Cc: <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: For your information

Thank you.  I have nothing to add to the voluminous correspondence that we have already exchanged on the matters in your latest email.

Regards

Richard Wiseman

Legal Services
Shell International Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered Office, Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA
Company number 3075807

FURTHER EMAIL FROM RICHARD WISEMAN ON 17 JUNE 2008

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2008 10:10:15 +0200
To: <[email protected]>
Cc: <[email protected]>
Subject: FW: For your information

Dear Mr Donovan

I have emailed your father to tell him that I have nothing to add to the correspondence we have already exchanged on the matters set out in his email.

However, I appreciate that he was not at the hearing in 1999.  He may not therefore know the circumstances behind our offer to contribute at that time to your legal expenses (the information which did not go to the judge).  You will recall that we made this contribution having been told by your solicitor that his firm had taken a charge on your house to secure their costs which they intended to enforce.  We took the view that enforcement of their charge and your losing your house would probably be used by you against us, even though you had started the proceedings, and for that reason alone, we made the contribution to your costs to avoid your losing your home.  

Regards

Richard Wiseman

Legal Services
Shell International Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered Office, Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA
Company number 3075807 

RESPONSE FROM JOHN DONOVAN ON 17 JUNE 2008

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2008 18:02:24 +0100
To: “Wiseman, Richard RM SI-LSUK” <[email protected]>, “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Cc: Alfred Donovan <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: For your information

Dear Mr Wiseman

I note the important confirmation that the Judge was not supplied with all of the settlement documents and was thus ignorant of the true circumstances of the compromise settlement. I wonder why was he kept in the dark? It certainly wasn’t on my instructions. He was supposed to be approving the settlement yet did not even know the terms. This was yet another bizarre episode in a farcical trial.  

If Sir Hugh Laddie had been trusted with the truth, then I doubt he would have made the one sided Judges Comments. When he made his comments he was, by your own admission, ignorant of the true basis of settlement.

After Shell had settled the Nintendo and Now Showing High Court actions in our favour and we had received the letter of apology from Shell UK Chairman Dr Chris Fay expressing regret for the way we had been treated, you argued in correspondence that the settlement was on a par with a pension payment given to us out of the goodness of Shell managements heart. That at least was my interpretation of your actual comments on the matter.

You are now claiming a similar charitable motive was behind the Smart settlement. In fact the Smart settlement and all of the earlier settlements were made solely on commercial grounds after Shell had used every conceivable underhand manoeuvre to evade responsibility.

The idea Shell executives would show any compassion towards the Donovan’s given the degree of acrimony directed at us, with libellous posters put up on display at Shell HQ buildings and press statements circulated which contained venomous libellous comments about us is frankly laughable. Shell publicly accused us of making bogus claims before settling the Nintendo and Now Showing claims for £200,000. Shell had settled an earlier claim after first describing it as being without merit. The same description was applied to every claim we bought yet they all ended up being settled by Shell.

The suggestion on this occasion of Shell management having a heart is even more preposterous bearing in mind that Shell had just publicly accused me of being a fraudster. Why would Shell be in the least concerned about the personal circumstances of an alleged fraudster?

Shell in fact waged a merciless dirty tricks campaign against us. My father had to sell his house to fund legal costs. I had to put my home on the line as security to cover my legal costs. We staked everything on receiving a fair trial before an impartial Judge. Instead we were faced with all of the horrendous undercover activity already described and ended up with a Judge with undisclosed Shell connections. The Judge was most definitely not impartial, as any independent analysis of the Judges Comments would have to confirm.

Our principle witness was frightened witless by the undercover activity, which included him being interviewed by someone exposed as using a fake cover story to obtain the interview. This was followed soon thereafter by a burglary at his home in Norfolk when his Shell related documents were tampered with. He raised these matters when giving testimony in Court, explaining that he was under immense stress having just sold his home because he and his wife no longer wished to reside in it after the burglary. When this subject was mentioned, Geoffrey Hobbs QC immediately dropped his line of questioning like a hot potato. He did not want to focus any attention on such unsavoury matters. The Judge expressed not the slightest interest in the undercover activities although aware of what had happened.

Knowing that we were hard pressed financially Shell wrote to the legal aid board before the trial making an untrue allegation. My legal aid, which had been granted, was immediately withdrawn. My father’s legal aid was also withdrawn. We both applied for Judicial Review of the decisions and my solicitor intended to give testimony proving that the allegation was unfounded, but the trial arrived before we were able to obtain hearings. The loss of legal aid put us at a great disadvantage in court, making us responsible for all legal costs if the decision went against us.

When the trial commenced, my father who was 81 at the time had no legal representation whatsoever to defend the substantial Counterclaim brought against him by Shell.

A teenager, Nick Gill, with no legal qualifications or legal experience of any kind, represented our company, Don Marketing in court. This was with the approval of the Judge who apparently was not concerned at the strange state of affairs.

I was also faced with the previously mentioned ambush at the climax of my cross-examination, which was based on an outright deception played out under the nose of the Judge. Contrary to the rules of court no notice of the extremely serious allegation sprung on me was given in advance to my legal team.

And the trial ended with the “joint press statement” designed to hide the truth about the settlement.

These are just some examples of why I have described the trial as a farce.

For the record, my father did write to Mr Justice Laddie about the potential conflict of interest connection with Tom Moody-Stuart but the Judge did not wish to engage in correspondence. As you may recall, you asked my father if it was okay for Sir Mark Moody-Stuart to supply to his son, Tom Moody-Stuart, a copy of the manuscript mentioning the potential conflict of interest issue. Although my father gave his consent, we heard nothing from Tom Moody-Stuart confirming or denying a connection with the Judge. My father also wrote to the Head of Chambers raising the same subject but again was met with a wall of silence. The plain fact is that there was a commercial connection between the Judge and the Chambers of Tom Moody-Stuart.

It is therefore fortunate that we have a low cost public platform to raise such matters and air our grievances. We at least have the satisfaction of being able to assist other parties who have suffered at the hands of a ruthless hypocritical Shell management preaching honesty and integrity while engaging in cover-up and deceit e.g the reserves fraud. It was a shame our widely circulated warnings about the dark side of Shell senior management went unheeded.

Regards
John Donovan

REPLY BY RICHARD WISEMAN ON 18 JUNE 2008

On 18/06/2008 08:57, “[email protected]” <[email protected]> wrote:

Thank you.  A simple “no” to my original question would have sufficed.

Regards

Richard Wiseman

Legal Services
Shell International Limited
Registered in England and Wales

Registered Office, Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA
Company number 3075807

RESPONSE FROM JOHN DONOVAN 

Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:20:40 +0100
To: <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected]” <[email protected]>, Alfred Donovan <[email protected]>
Conversation: For your information
Subject: Re: For your information

Dear Mr Wiseman

A simple “no” would have been the wrong answer. My father was aware that Shell paid my entire legal costs. I paid not a single penny. He was also aware that I received a payment and had refused to settle without receiving a payment. The payment was however accepted under duress and did not reflect the scale of compensation appropriate for a multi-country long term promotion. I have already described the appalling background circumstances. I was informed at the time by my solicitors that Sir Mark Moody-Stuart had personally authorised the settlement. I do not know whether you were aware of this. Perhaps the true nature and terms were withheld from you as well as the Judge?

I say this bearing in mind that the Funding Deed some time earlier was approved over your head and against your wishes (and against the wishes of Shell UK Chairman Dr Chris Fay).  You memorably described that unique arrangement, authorised by John Jennings and Mark Moody-Stuart, following our friendly constructive meeting with Jennings, as being “bananas”, so there was a track record of your advice being overruled or ignored by senior executives.

I suspect, as you may do, that Sir Mark may have also cut you out of the loop on another occasion by perhaps asking one of his fellow (titled) directors of Shell Transport, who were the spymasters at Hakluyt, to order undercover operations against us in addition to those sanctioned by you? Why use an outside resource when what amounted to an in-house facility used for many other covert dirty tricks operations against perceived enemies of Shell, as exposed by The Sunday Times and admitted by Shell, was readily available and could be activated without putting any evidence on paper?

You are well aware that for the sake of openness we routinely publish all correspondence with Shell in its entirety. This may explain why you inserted a reference to me potentially losing my home, perhaps thinking I would then be too embarrassed to publish the correspondence. In fact, we ended up losing two homes, mine and my fathers, because we were cheated out of a fair trial after staking everything on that fundamental right. Hence our campaign.

Although we have no claim against Shell and no intention of making any claim, we do intend to continue to vigorously criticise Shell on the Internet whenever we deem it appropriate, as is our right.

Finally, I want to make it plain for the record that we recognise that the vast majority of Shell employees are decent hard working individuals. Because Shell suspended, then abandoned “Tell Shell”, after you confirmed the secret censorship policy, our website provides the ONLY independent online forum focussed on Shell which they can use to exchange information and blow the whistle on senior executives e.g. the former SEIC Deputy CEO General David Greer, who resigned after his infamous motivational email was leaked to us.

Consequently, it is true to say that we provide a useful free service for Shell stakeholders.   

Regards
John Donovan 

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