By John Donovan
We now seem to be getting down to the nitty-gritty in the long running saga in which a small “Mr Fixit” company, OSSL, admits it acted as a conduit for sweeteners (bribes) funded by Shell to smooth the rocky path of the highly controversial Corrib gas pipeline project in Ireland.
Following the personal intervention by RDS Plc Chief Executive Peter Voser, after I arranged for OSSL bosses to corner him at the Shell AGM in May, his chosen envoy, Iain Middleton and the CEO of Shell E&P Ireland, Michael Crothers, met in Dublin the following month with OSSL founders Desmond Kane and Neil Rooney. Peter Voser publicly stated that the objective of the discussions was to resolve the dispute.
According to an email dated 13 Sept 2013 that Mr Crothers sent to Supt Thomas Murphy, the senior Garda officer currently re-investigating OSSL allegations, OSSL subsequently sent an email to senior Shell lawyers and executives listing OSSL “demands” arising from the meeting.
Crothers email to Supt Murphy and the related OSSL email listing OSSL “demands’ are both printed below.
Perhaps wrongly, I have the impression from his email that Crothers believes OSSL is trying to blackmail Shell?
Normally a blackmailer holds back key information, otherwise there is no leverage. In this case, OSSL does not appear to have held anything back. On the contrary, no one could have been more outspoken, literally bombarding Shell with allegations on a 24/7 basis.
Why would Shell agree to resolution discussions if there was nothing to settle?
Why would Shell top executives entertain any contact with a company which had made serious false accusations about Shell and named Shell executives, officials and managers for the last year?
I think we all know the answer.
My own view is that the sweeteners started on a small scale, including festive gifts of free alcohol given to Garda officers and then expanded until it became a potential huge embarrassment for Shell if news of what was going on became public.
It was unwise for Shell to fall out with the people who made it all happen on their behalf.
EMAIL FROM SHELL E&P IRELAND CEO MICHAEL CROTHERS TO SUPT THOMAS MURPHYÂ
Here is the email from OSSL that you requested, listing their demands arising from the meeting in June 2013 with myself and lain Middleton of Shell.
Managing Director, Shell E&P Ireland Limited Registered Office
52 Lower Leeson Street
Registered in Ireland Number 316588