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Resurrection of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Shell litigation

32 page U.S. Federal Court Order dated 20 December 2016 

U.S. Related FederalCourt Order dated 6 January 2017

Shell is being buried up to its corporate neck in a toxic swamp of current or pending litigation arising from its activities in Nigeria.

In 2013 Shell thought it had killed Nigeria related long-standing litigation in the U.S. courts when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Alien Tort Claims Act does not apply extraterritorially

Esther Kiobel was the bitterly disappointed lead plaintiff seeking justice in the USA on human rights grounds against a company she considers to be evil. She holds Shell responsible for the murder of her late husband, Ogoni leader Dr Barinem Kiobel.

The case is now being resurrected by Dutch lawyers acting on her behalf. They are in the process of preparing to bring an action in the Netherlands against Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Notice letters have already been served on three companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group.

U.S. and Dutch lawyers acting for Esther have just scored a major victory in the U.S. courts. Despite vocal opposition on behalf of Shell, a senior Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has ordered Shell’s lawyers to make available to Esther Kiobel’s Dutch lawyers over 1oo,000 Shell discovery documents and dozens of witness deposition transcripts.

Links are provided above to the relevant court orders.  It can be seen from the 32 page Order just how strongly opposed Shell lawyers were to the application, which was granted against their wishes. The Judge is taking steps to ensure that the content of the documents is used only for the Dutch litigation.

I have been advising Esther Kiobel following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2013. The 100,000 plus documents were generated internally at Shell as a result of the aborted litigation.

Esther did not give up. Instead, she contacted me and I have been delighted to help in her continuing quest for justice, including finding the best Dutch lawyers to represent her and providing that law firm with extensive evidence and access to Shell insiders. My Shell files go back decades.

Separately, an important decision is imminent in the UK courts on further litigation being brought against Shell by London solicitors Leigh Day in the UK on behalf of Nigerian plaintiffs. I have also assisted Leigh Day with extensive evidence and access to Shell insiders.

I now turn to another developing Nigerian reputational nightmare for Shell.

According to an AFP report “former British intelligence agents working as advisors for Shell” were involved in the now notorious OPL 245 deal masterminded on behalf of Shell by Malcolm Brinded.

He and Shell colleagues John Copleston, Guy Colgate and Peter Robinson are all named in the Italian indictment document. Guy Colgate seems to have had a security function at Shell in Nigeria.

I do not know yet whether the “British Intelligence agents” are associated with Shell’s longtime corporate espionage offshoot, Hakluyt & Company.  Hakluyt has certainly been actively involved in Shell’s murky dealings in Nigeria.

No wonder with such in-house spying expertise at its disposal, Shell chose to embed spies throughout the Nigeria government. This fact was revealed by WikiLeaks cables from the American Embassy in Nigeria.

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