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Shameless, unrepentant and corrupt, Bertie Ahern

So there you have it. An Irish Prime Minister who has a track record of corruption associated with planning matters and a greedy ruthless oil giant, also with a track record of corruption. A true meeting of like minds.

By John Donovan

Earlier today the The Mail Online reported an announcement by the corrupt, disgraced former Irish Premier Bertie Ahern, that he is quitting Fianna Fáil, the political party he joined some 40 years ago and led for 14 years.

He left knowing that he was about to be ejected from the party after Mahon Tribunal judges, investigating allegations of corrupt payments to politicians, relating mainly to planning decisions, said they did not believe any of the evidence he had given to them.

Neither has he been able to explain the origin of large sums of money paid into his bank account.

One of his mentors, another corrupt Irish prime minister Charles Haughey (now deceased), who took millions from businessmen, called Mr Ahern the “most cunning, the most ruthless, the most devious of them all.”

In 1992, in his then capacity as Minister for Finance, Bertie Ahern extended licensing terms for oil and gas companies, abolished royalties from Irish fields, and drastically reduced the tax rate for exploration companies to the lowest in the world. This prompted a director of Statoil to remark: “No country in the world gives as favourable terms to oil and gas companies as Ireland.”

In 2003, senior executives from Shell sought, and were given, an interview with Ahern, who was now Taoiseach (Prime Minister). The Royal Dutch Shell executives who met with Bertie Ahern were Tom Botts, Andy Pyle, John Dunne and Rosemary Steen. They obviously spoke his language. Within a week, Ahern met with the Irish Planning Board and as if by magic, the board decided to ignore a report by one its own inspector’s, which stood in the way of granting permission to proceed on the next stage of the project.

In November 2003, Ahern defended under questioning in the Irish Parliament, his decision to meet with the Shell executives.

Some revealing extracts:

BERTIE AHERN: Shell is a respected company throughout the world, not only in this part of it. When representatives of corporate business come here from different parts of the world I endeavour to meet them, just as I do my best to meet trade union leaders, politicians and so on. The company has already invested more than €50 million in this project. Whatever one thinks of the project one must admit the resources invested in this country by companies such as Shell are significant. When large companies seek a meeting it behoves me or one of my Ministers to arrange this.

I find it extraordinary that the Deputy thinks any of my actions in this matter were unethical. I have had a fair few meetings over the years that might border on the unethical, but I am not guilty of it in this case.

Mr. Sargent: It is tempting to ask about the other meetings which the Taoiseach thinks were ethically borderline, but we will leave that for another day. I am not sure whether the Ogoni people in Nigeria share his high opinion of Shell…

THE COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

VIDEO FEATURING RELATED COMMENTARY BY FORMER ROYAL DUTCH SHELL EXECUTIVE, PADDY BRIGGS

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DySF-3b2D0&feature=player_embedded

In the YouTube.com video above, *Paddy Briggs quotes from the minutes of a meeting of Royal Dutch Shell Group Managing Directors held on 23 July 2003 (MARKED “MOST CONFIDENTIAL”.

“It was noted that development of the Corrib field may be delayed until 2004 as planning consent had been refused for the terminal. The Committee queried whether the Group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators. Paul Skinner undertook to explore this issue further in consultation with the Country Chairman in Ireland.”

THE FULL 15 PAGE MINUTES (OBTAINED AND PUBLISHED BY JOHN DONOVAN)

The video also mentions the pivotal Shell meeting with the then Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland referred to above.

So there you have it. An Irish Prime Minister who has a track record of corruption associated with planning matters and a greedy ruthless oil giant, also with a track record of corruption. A true meeting of like minds.

RELATED ARTICLES

Shell Corrib Gas Project, Bertie Ahern and Corruption

Wall Street Journal: Shell Investigated for Corruption By Department of Justice, SEC: 26 March 2008

CNN: Whistleblower: Oil watchdog agency ‘cult of corruption’: 14 October 2008

The Guardian: Shell shares hit by news of US inquiry: 17 March 2009

Reuters: Shell says being investigated in US bribery probe: 17 March 2009

The Wall Street Journal: UPDATE: Shell: Co Still Under Investigation By US DOJ, SEC: 17 March 2009

The Times: Shell investigated by SEC over bribery claims: 17 March 2009

Shell in U.S. Gov. Sex, Drugs and Corruption Scandal: 24 January 2009

Shell to pay $48m Nigerian bribe fine: Daily Telegraph 4 November 2010

SHELL IN BRIBERY FINE: Daily Express 6 November 2010

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