Astonishingly, none of these Shell officials, nor John Gilligan, Alan Shatter, or anyone else in the Irish government, police, or any oversight body, has asked me to supply the voluminous evidence. No one seems shocked, or even interested. There have been no denials issued, nor have I received any threats of litigation, as could be anticipated if the allegations were without foundation. This seems to be a rotten state of affairs? I am now beginning to wonder if Shell has bought the whole Irish Establishment?
EMAIL SENT BY JOHN DONOVAN TO EVERY MEMBER OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT (THE DAIL)
Irish Police corruption, booze and violence sponsored by Shell
Dear Mr Shane Ross TD
I am writing to you and all other members of the Dail on an exceptional basis concerning a matter that should be a cause of great concern.
I sent an email to your Justice Minister Mr Alan Shatter over a month ago concerning alleged widespread corruption of the Garda by Shell E&P Ireland.
Mr Shatter is aware that I have in my possession a vast array of what I believe to be related authentic documents and correspondence. It includes an invoice from a small firm – The OSSL Company – to Shell E&P Ireland for over 35,000 euros (plus VAT) spent on the procurement of alcohol distributed to the Garda by OSSL, on behalf of its long time client, Shell.
I understand that the cost would be substantially higher if the alcohol was purchased on a legitimate basis, bearing in mind the possibility, in view of the content of the invoice in question, that the alcohol was smuggled across the border. If so, that might also raise taxation and criminal law issues.
I also supplied Mr Shatter with a copy of a letter marked “Strictly Private & Confidential” dated 28 February 2011 from The OSSL Company to Garda Superintendent Mr. John Gilligan. The letter discussed the purchase and delivery of festive gifts to the Garda and claimed that the gifts were purchased by OSSL on behalf of Shell E&P Ireland. According to the letter: “At Shell’s insistence these gifts came with a high degree of confidentiality, which we have adhered to until this very day.”
Emails sent to OSSL from Michael Crothers, the Chief Executive of Shell E&P Ireland, provide some confirmation of claims made by OSSL. There are signs that Mr Crothers is uncomfortable with the toxic mess he has inherited from his predecessors.
Thus far, all I have received from Mr Shatter is a series of acknowledgement emails sent on his behalf, the most expansive one, dated 5 April, stated: “I write to acknowledge receipt of your email today and can confirm the matter is being dealt with.” That could just mean that my emails have been placed on file.
There has been a similar astonishing lack of curiosity by other parties I have contacted, including senior Shell officials Linda Szymanski, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc; Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, and Julia Busby, head of Shell Legal Dept.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Gilligan, who is alleged to have had a direct hand in the scandal, did not reply to my email inviting him to comment.
Astonishingly, none of these Shell officials, nor John Gilligan, Alan Shatter, or anyone else in the Irish government, police, or any oversight body, has asked me to supply the voluminous evidence. No one seems shocked, or even interested. There have been no denials issued, nor have I received any threats of litigation, as could be anticipated if the allegations were without foundation.
This seems to be a rotten state of affairs? I am now beginning to wonder if Shell has bought the whole Irish Establishment? Please tell me that I am wrong? Is there anyone in the Dail who is sufficiently concerned to intervene?
Some of the wording on the invoice seems reminiscent of the prohibition era in the USA. Somebody trying to conceal the illicit transportation of alcohol. OSSL has explained the circumstances behind the long delay in raising the invoice. Shell knew that it was dealing with a very hot potato and put off the day of reckoning by using its power over a small company (OSSL), which naturally wanted to retain its most important client.
Basically Shell funded free alcohol, procured and delivered by OSSL on Shell’s behalf, that was allegedly lavished on hundreds of police officers – a form of reward not conducive to the well-being, ethical standing, safety and demeanor of the Garda. The booze was allegedly delivered to senior on duty officers, with at least one delivery being made at Police premises. OSSL says that on Shell’s instructions, invoices were falsified to disguise what was going on.
By way of background information, I operate an entirely non-commercial independent website, which for nearly 10 years, has monitored the activities of Royal Dutch Shell.
As can be seen from the *extract of a book authored by Lorna Siggin, we published in 2007 confidential minutes of a 2002 committee meeting of Shell Managing Directors, when “The committee queried whether the group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators.” Shell had already spread its tentacles of influence inside the Irish government and regulators, and senior management was apparently intent on increasing Shell’s penetration.
I have already pointed out to Mr Shatter that Shell has prior form in abusing the trust of host governments. For example, Shell sponsored corruption of U.S. Federal employees/regulators in a sex, drugs and alcohol scandal. Shell embedded spies into every ministry of the Nigerian government. Also in Nigeria, Shell incurred a $30million “criminal penalty” over charges it paid $2million to a sub-contractor “with the knowledge that some or all of the money” would be used to bribe Nigerian officials.
In response to our website activities, Shell has engaged in a global spying operation on its own employees in an attempt to trace our sources and stop the leakage of insider information.
Death threats allegedly made to Shell Corrib Gas Project employees who had leaked numerous Shell internal emails to me, were reported in the Irish Times in April 2011 under the headline: “Gardaí investigate alleged death threats to Corrib whistleblowers”
In September 2012, I received the first whistleblower information from OSSL. It had become, over several years, a “Mr Fixit” agent of Shell, distributing gifts and favours to third parties to ease the torturous progress of the highly controversial project.
I notified our designated Shell contact, Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I asked if Shell wanted to investigate the allegations. There was no reply.
Based on information subsequently received from OSSL, we have published a series of articles (headlines below).
The matter is obviously serious, with allegations that the Garda has acted as an offshoot of Shell security in brutally policing protests against the Corrib Gas Project – perhaps fueled by the free booze sponsored by Shell. Graphics (1) (2) posted on the Internet confirm a widely held perception by environmental activists, including the Shell to Sea campaign, that the Garda are “Shell’s Cops”.
Alleged excessive violence by the Garda against protestors is set out on pages 214 & 215 of the book: “ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST: The Corrib Gas Controversy,” authored by Irish Times journalist Lorna Siggins.
OSSL allege that Shell, in a move to silence them, has threatened to blacklist OSSL in the oil and gas industry. Something that Shell has done before to others.
OSSL also allege that Shell used a third party multinational accountancy firm to convey a warning that OSSL staff risked being jailed for the acts they had carried out for Shell. This threat was also obviously designed to frighten them into keeping quiet.
OSSL is appalled that Shell management involved their small company in such activity. They relied on Shell, its pledge of ethical trading and its army of lawyers, to ensure that it was not drawn into any illegal actions on Shell’s behalf. It now seeks the protection of whistleblower status.
On 31 March 2013, I brought these matters to the attention of Mr Alan Shatter TD in his capacity as Justice & Equalities Minister. I have sent further emails to him, but have never received anything more that a polite acknowledgement as quoted. Legitimate questions that I raised have thus far been ignored.
On 1 May, after news broke of proposals of brand sponsorship for the UK police I sent an email to Mr Shatter asking rather sarcastically, if a pilot scheme was already underway in Ireland, with Shell sponsoring the Garda? I pointed out that if it was, the sponsorship should flow into state coffers, rather than down the throats of apparently very thirsty police officers. Nor was there any evidence of Shell logo’s displayed on uniforms or on police cars.
What is going on is unfair to impartial, honest and sober members of the Garda.
It is under these circumstances that I decided to notify all members of the Irish parliament.
All of the evidence in my possession is available provided I receive confirmation that the allegations will be officially investigated and the findings put into the public domain.
I regret to say that the scandal is wider in scope than has thus far been revealed.
If you are concerned, please ask Mr Shatter what action, if any, he has taken thus far?
If you can let me know what his response is, that would be very helpful.
*EXTRACTS FROM “ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST” BY LORNA SIGGIN: Published 5 October 2010
FROM THE FOREWORD (BY FINTAN O’TOOLE)
Though theoretically citizens in a liberal democracy, those who have stood in the way of the exploitation of the Corrib gas field by a consortium led by Shell found themselves with very little protection from their own government. Instead of seeking to negotiate a settlement on behalf of these citizens, Irish governments aligned themselves to an overwhelming extent with Shell, putting the resources of the state behind the acquisition of land and, when locals objected, mounting a policing operation that at one point included the deployment of the navy.
FROM PAGES 126 &127 (“Ahern” is a reference to Bertie Ahern, a corrupt Irish government minister who became Taoiseach)
When the issue arose again in the Dail, the following month, Ahern insisted there was nothing unethical about his discussion in September with the senior Shell executives. There were ‘no deals or arrangements’ with Shell, he insisted, adding that ‘other countries have ways and means of treating large companies, which I do not agree with. 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.’
Four years later, in November 2007, the RoyalDutchShellplc.com website run by Alfred and John Donovan – long-time critics of the multinational – published details of minutes of a meeting of Shell group managing directors on 22 and 23 July 2002. Planning refusal for the Ballinaboy gas terminal in north Mayo was discussed, according to the website, which quoted from the minutes: ‘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.’
HEADLINES OF RECENT CORRIB GAS SCANDAL ARTICLES PUBLISHED BY US
CORRUPTION ENGULFING SHELL CORRIB GAS PROJECT: 29 April 2013
Shell Corrib Gas Project: 28 April 2013
OSSL v. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL: 1 May 2013
SHELL SPONSORED CORRUPTION OF THE IRISH POLICE: 1 May 2013
Shell Corrib Corruption & Community Complaints: 3 May 2013 (By a guest author)
Police commissioner wants private firms to sponsor cars and stations: The Telegraph 2 May 2013