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Shell’s use of undercover agents

The revelation that Phillips was apparently just one of an undisclosed number of agents making enquiries was intimidating and no doubt meant to be so. Shell lawyers were unwilling to disclose how many agents were involved, or what they were doing on Shell’s behalf. The excuse given of making “routine credit enquiries” did not stand up. Routine credit enquiries can be made instantaneously using modern technology. The questions Phillips asked staff about us had nothing to do with credit enquiries. Their agent was clearly engaged in gathering information…

Extract from the ebook “John Donovan, Shell’s Nightmare” (now available on Amazon websites globally)

(BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT SHELL’S EPIC 25 YEAR FEUD WITH JOHN DONOVAN – which puts the extracts below in overall context.)

The extract below should be read in the context of the fact that we were besieged by undercover activity during the run-up to the SMART High Court Trial – the climax of our litigation alleging that Shell had stolen Intellectual Property from our company Don Marketing. Shell brought a Counterclaim amid a barrage of aggressive threats and sinister activity directed against us. Shell did not disclose its close connection with a private spy firm Hakluyt & Company.

Extracts below from pages 100 & 101

Begins

I confronted Shell about the sinister activity.

On 15 June 1998, I faxed a letter to Dr. Chris Fay, the then Chairman of Chief Executive of Shell UK Limited (center screenshot). I sent copies to Mark Moody-Stuart, Richard Wiseman and Colin Joseph of DJ Freeman. I set out in the letter the disturbing events that had taken place, involving Charles Hoots, Christopher Phillips, Daniel Wilson and the anonymous call.

I received a response from Colin Joseph with the following opening sentence: “I have been asked to respond to your letter of 15th June addressed to Dr Fay.”

The letter mentioned Mr. Hoots and the anonymous call. There was no mention of Daniel Wilson or Christopher Phillips and no admission that Shell had any connection with ANY of the sinister events that led me to call in the police.

On 18 June, my solicitor, Richard Woodman, faxed a letter to DJ Freeman, which put Shell in a corner.

It said:

We enclose for your information a letter which we have sent to a Company called Cofton Consultants, the contents of which are self-explanatory.

We should be most grateful if you could confirm that Shell has and never has had any connection with this Company whether in relation to John Donovan, Don Marketing UK Limited, the current or past litigation, or in any other respect.

The following day DJ Freeman faxed a response to me admitting for the first time that both DJ Freeman and Shell were aware of Christopher Phillips and claimed he was making “routine credit enquiries” in connection with the litigation. There was no indication of who issued the brief, DJ Freeman or Shell. In the same letter, Shell’s solicitors said that neither they nor Shell had any knowledge of the other incidents. They made particular reference to the anonymous call.

The following are extracts from a related faxed response by Royds Treadwell (see pages 3 and 4 of the correspondence with DJ Freeman):

If “routine credit enquiries” were indeed the sole ambit of the brief given by your firm to Cofton Consultants then perhaps you would supply us with a copy of your letter of instruction so that everyone can be satisfied about what you say. Neither do we accept that such enquiries are “normal” in litigation.

As you can imagine we have taken detailed instructions from our Client about the extremely disturbing anonymous telephone call he received ten days ago. We are entirely satisfied that this call could only have been made by someone connected with your Clients or fully briefed by them. The caller accurately informed John Donovan that your Clients were using private enquiry agents, accurately informed John Donovan that your Clients had retained the services of Shandwick Public Relations and Tequila (both of whom have recorded a number of visits to our Client’s website); accurately recounted the events which had taken place at Shell’s AGM; and (probably) accurately recounted Dr Fay’s anger on that occasion.

The caller also stated that your Clients were “fed up with” the campaign which supports the litigation (particularly the “colourful website”) and threatened that if this continues not only would the litigation prove financially ruinous to Mr Donovan, he and his family would be “endangered”.

The then Legal Director of Shell UK Mr. Richard Wiseman, also confirmed in writing, in a letter dated 24 June 1998, that “Christopher Phillips” was working for Shell. I asked him if “Christopher Phillips” had engaged in surveillance or phone tapping activities against us. Wiseman ducked the question by stating:

So far as the visit of Mr Phillips is concerned, and his instructions, we will, as D J Freeman have said, co-operate with the police to the utmost extent.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, we were never given sight of the brief issued in respect of the visit by “Christopher Phillips,” who obtained information under false pretenses, using fake credentials.

Colin Joseph made it plain in a letter dated 3 July 1998, that Phillips was not the only person involved in making enquiries on Shell’s behalf.

If, nevertheless, the police wish to obtain any further information from my clients or from anyone involved in enquiries on their behalf, including Mr Phillips, then, as has been said on several previous occasions, the fullest of co-operation will be given.

The revelation that Phillips was apparently just one of an undisclosed number of agents making enquiries was intimidating and no doubt meant to be so.

Shell lawyers were unwilling to disclose how many agents were involved, or what they were doing on Shell’s behalf.

The excuse given of making “routine credit enquiries” did not stand up. Routine credit enquiries can be made instantaneously using modern technology. The questions Phillips asked staff about us had nothing to do with credit enquiries. Their agent was clearly engaged in gathering information about my family and me, asking for example about the purpose was of our visits to the USA.

No trace was ever found of any business of any kind by the name of “Cofton Consultants.”

Extracts from the John Donovan ebook end.

MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION

THE SHELL SMART TRIAL In 1999: While the dramatic cross-examination of Shell executive AJL was in progress and reaching a climax, Shell suddenly settled the high court litigation brought by John Donovan in relation to SHELL SMART and related libel actions. Shell paid all legal costs said to be over £1 million pounds and John Donovan received a secret payment as part of the settlement, the full terms of which were deliberately withheld by Shell from the Judge, the late Mr Justice Laddie. The judge made comments at the end of the trial unaware of the full terms of settlement, a fact later confirmed to John Donovan in writing by Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman, now retired. The comments made by the judge later triggered a repudiation of the settlement by Shell. By co-incidence or otherwise the judge resigned in controversial circumstances soon after we lodged a formal complaint about his outlandish conduct during the trial and his undeclared connection with a member of the Moody-Stuart family, the barrister Tom Moody-Stuart. His mother, Lady Judy Moody-Stuart, had also become personally involved. Her well-meaning intervention was brought to the attention of the judge by my late father Alfred Donovan.

EARLIER EXTRACTS FROM THE EBOOK

John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Genesis

John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Süddeutsche Zeitung article

GERMAN TV: John Donovan’s revelations cost Shell billions

ARGUS FSU ENERGY INTERVIEW WITH KREMLIN ATTACK DOG, OLEG MITVOL

How Shell lost its majority stake in Sakhalin II

John Donovan, Group Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC companies

Donovan family relationship with Shell

Long association with the Royal Dutch Shell

Since the 1990s, Shell has been at war with John Donovan

An unscrupulous Shell executive

SHELL PROJECT HERCULES RIGGED TENDER PROCESS

Secret Shell Writ Losses

Shell caught red-handed in Make Money deception

Donovan Defamation Actions Against Shell

Shell in legal row over Smart Card

Defamatory Posters on Display at Shell HQ

SHELL DEFAMATION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST SHELL WHISTLEBLOWER DR JOHN HUONG 

399 Former Shell Malaysia Employees Sued Shell for Misappropriation of Retirement Funds

Don Marketing posts legal warning about Shell

Bombarded by threats from Shell

SHELL TEXACO MERGER HITCH?

A BLUNT INSIDER JUDGEMENT OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

Shell corporate espionage

Shell Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark

Besieged by undercover activity during run-up to Shell SMART High Court Trial

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and his family personally involved in Donovan litigation

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

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