On Thursday, the UK House of Commons passed the Bribery Bill, which would make it illegal for companies doing business in the U.K. to bribe government officials.
The U.K. measure goes further than the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act because the legislation, if passed by the House of Lords, will make it illegal to request or accept a bribe. Companies could also face prosecution for failure to prevent bribery by employees.
This development will be of interest to Shell in view of its key involvement in the so called “Scandal of the Century“, for which BAE Systems has recently paid nearly $500 million in fines.
The BAE Systems bribery scandal shamed the UK. Over 15 years, the British defense firm, which is the largest manufacturer in the U.K., allegedly provided Saudi royals with cash, cars, prostitutes and houses in exchange for lucrative defense contracts. The most infamous of these dealings was the so-called al-Yamamah deal that Margret Thatcher negotiated with Prince Bandar, the son of the Saudi defense minister, in the 1980s.
The developing anti-corruption and bribery laws will hopefully give Shell senior management pause for thought bearing in mind its track record of supporting and encouraging corrupt predatory practices by Shell executives.
To our certain knowledge, unsuspecting companies have been enticed, under false pretenses, into Shell confidentiality agreements allowing the oil giant to steal intellectual property. Companies were deliberately enticed into participation in a rigged tender for a major contract eventfully awarded to a company which did not participate in the tender – a company that had a close relationship with a Shell executive on the make who, in connivance with other Shell senior managers, rigged the tender.
Richard Wiseman, the current Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc gave his full endorsement to the thoroughly dishonest Shell executive in question, as did Malcolm Brinded, an equally discredited Shell executive director.
As we have said many times, it is deeds, not words (Shell’s sham Business Principles), which count.