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Posts under ‘Esther Kiobel’

Shell false pledges of transparency and openness

By John Donovan

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden says that he believes in the fundamental importance of openness by Shell. This echo’s comments made previously by Jorma Ollila when he was Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. He said in a speech at the 2014 AGM “Shell believes in transparency and your board has high levels of commitment to this.”

Unfortunately Shell senior management deeds do not, in practice, match their lofty words.

On 22 May I wrote to Shell Legal Director Donny Ching asking him to instruct Shell US lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, to release for use in the Dutch courts over 100,000 items of evidence gathered by Shell internally in relation to its past conduct in Nigeria. Alleged human rights abuses, including alleged complicity in the murder of Ogoni leaders.

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Shell News Headlines 23 May 2017

Shell to sell C$4.1 billion stake in Canadian Natural -sources: REUTERS/DAILY MAIL: 23 May 2017

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has decided to offload a roughly C$4.1 billion ($3 billion) stake in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNRL) that it acquired as part of a deal to retreat from Canada’s oil sands earlier this year, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Shell defeats activist uprising as it faces down rising climate concerns: THE TELEGRAPH: 23 MAY 2017

Royal Dutch Shell has convincingly defeated a climate activist uprising after facing down one of its most bitter stand-offs with shareholders over its climate goals. Around 94pc of shareholders voted down a special resolution calling for the oil giant to set and publish annual targets to reduce carbon emissions at its AGM in the Hague on Tuesday. The board also survived a vote on executive pay which was backed by 93pc of shareholders.

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Is Donny Ching all talk on Shell ethics?

If Shell is innocent of the allegations made by Ether Kiobel what is there to hide?

SENT BY EMAIL TO SHELL LEGAL DIRECTOR, DONNY CHING: FROM JOHN DONOVAN

Dear Mr Ching

You laid it on thick about Shell ethics and principles in your impressive speech: “FOLLOWING THE NORTH STAR: NAVIGATING COMPANIES TOWARDS A GOOD REPUTATION”

Extract

Nowadays, reputation is harder to win. And much easier to lose. In this context it is not enough to simply say: “Trust us.” Trust. Reputation. These are not simply messages to be broadcast. They are the outcomes that result from consistently ethical behaviour.

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Selection of current Shell new articles

Nigeria Seizes Foreign Vessel for Alleged Theft of Shell Crude: Bloomberg: 27 April 2017

Nigeria detained a vessel with crew members from countries including Pakistan, Indonesia and Ukraine for alleged theft of crude from a facility owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the navy said.

Bar, business groups back Cravath on fighting disclosure of Shell documents: Reuters 27 April 2017

The New York City Bar Association has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in backing law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore in its appeal of an order to turn over documents belonging to client Royal Dutch Shell plc in a possible overseas lawsuit accusing the oil giant of facilitating human rights violations.

Shell Signs Oil Exploration Cooperation Deal In Oman: OilPrice.com: 26 April 2017

Royal Dutch Shell and Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP) have signed a Heads of Agreement for cooperation in resource exploration in an oil and gas block in Oman, the Omani company said on Twitter on Wednesday.

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Esther Kiobel vs money motivated hornets’ nest of 66,000 lawyers

By John Donovan

The battle in the US courts over Shell discovery documents was uneven from the start. Esther Kiobel versus Shell’s formidable US lawyers CRAVATH, SWAINE & MOORE, LLP. The Nigerian-born widow of a murdered Ogoni leader on one side, still fighting to put Shell on trial for complicity in his murder, and a giant law firm on the other, which since 2002, has been blocking her path to justice.

Nonetheless, a US Judge granted her recent petition for Cravath to hand over more than 100,000 Shell discovery documents stored in the USA so that Esther can use them in a pending action against Shell in the Netherlands. In response, Cravath hired another top law firm Hogan Lovells led by one of America’s top lawyers Neal Katyal to represent them in an appeal, thus becoming a battle between Esther Kiobel (now a US citizen) and two giant law firms. No doubt with the malevolent presence of Shell lurking behind the scenes pulling the strings.

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Shell’s litigation in the U.S. courts over misappropriated $1.4bn Nigerian oil

By John Donovan

Esther Kiobel, the widow of Shell Ogoni leader Dr Barinem Kiobel, spent over a decade pursuing litigation against Royal Dutch Shell in the USA courts for alleged complicity in his murder.

All of her efforts and those of her lawyers and all the evidence gathered from witnesses came to nought when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that Shell could not be sued in the in the U.S. courts for matters that happened in Nigeria.

Being a simple soul, not a lawyer, I am at a loss to understand how it is then that Shell is currently pursuing litigation against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”) in the U.S. courts in relation to the sum of $1,416,932,000 (Yes, $1.4bn), plus interest and legal costs.

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Neal Katyal, the best justice money can buy

By John Donovan

Shell lawyers Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP have hired Neal Katyal, a senior partner at the global law firm Hogan Lovells, to represent them in litigation relating to Shell’s human rights abuses in Nigeria.

Mr Katyal is a busy man. On Monday he will be arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. For the first time, it includes President Trump’s appointee Neil Gorsuch. Katyal endorsed Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, testifying at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.

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Shell’s Nigerian Nightmare Continues

Latest salvo in Shell Nigerian discovery docs battle

By John Donovan

Over 100,000 Shell internal discovery documents relating to the oil giants murderous conduct in Nigeria were assembled by Shell several years ago.

This huge task was undertaken for the famous Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum lawsuit in the USA alleging that Shell was complicit in the murder of Ogoni leaders, including Ken Saro-Wiwa and the beloved husband of Esther Kiobel, Dr. Barinem Kiobel.

In 2013, Shell’s lawyers Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP managed to scupper that litigation on legal jurisdiction grounds in a historic U.S. Supreme Court Decision. The pre-trial proceedings, which had lasted over a decade, came to an abrupt end before the allegations could be brought to trial. Shell cleverly escaped responsibility. The content of the discovery documents remained confidential and under Shell’s control.

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APRIL 2017: TOP U.S. LAW FIRMS BATTLING TO FRUSTRATE ESTHER KIOBEL LITIGATION AGAINST SHELL

Esther Kiobel (left) addressing supporters

15 YEARS ON, SHELL STILL FRUSTRATING LITIGATION TO HOLD IT ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVIL DEEDS IN NIGERIA

By John Donovan

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP – a global law firm, which has Shell as a long term client, has recently hired another global law firm – Hogan Lovells US LLP – to represent it in an attempt to frustrate litigation being brought against Shell in the USA and the Netherlands. 

We have published several articles in recent months concerning a petition brought in the US courts on behalf of Esther Kiobel.  

She is seeking access to more than 100,000 Shell internal documents gathered by Shell and handed to Cravath. This happened as part of the discovery process in the litigation Esther brought against Shell in 2002, in the US courts. Among many serious allegations was a claim that Shell was complicit in the murder of her husband, a leader of the Ogoni people in Nigeria. 

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Kiobel vs Shell discovery doc battle continues in US Courts

Ms. Kiobel has been trying for years to obtain justice for the murder of her husband and other abuses committed against her. That justice was denied to her in the United States, not on the merits, but due to an unforeseen limitation on the reach of the Alien Tort Statute that no lower court had previously imposed.

By John Donovan

The headline above is not strictly correct.

The current battle in the US courts IS between Esther Kiobel and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. However, the real battle is between Esther Kiobel and Shell – a long term client of Cravath.

Cravath holds over 100,000 Shell internal documents assembled by Shell for litigation brought by Esther Kiobel many years ago in the US courts. The following extract from a submission made by her lawyers on 23 February 2017 explains what happened:

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US Legal Battle over 100,000 Shell Internal Docs

There is a major legal battle in progress in the US courts relating to over 100,000 Shell internal documents and witness depositions arising from the famed Kiobel vs Royal Dutch Petroleum Co case.

Shell lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has just obtained a stay of a Court Order which had required the discovery materials to be made available to Esther Kiobel by 27 February 2017. The details and the associated court imposed deadlines flowing from the stay are indicated in the above COURT ORDER dated 14 February 2017. 

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US appeal against order to hand over Shell docs for Dutch case

 The most audacious argument being made by Cravath against the Court Order is that since Esther Kiobel has already waited more than twenty years in pursuing Shell, what’s the problem in her waiting even longer!

By John Donovan

Yesterday, despite the fact that the petition case resulting in the recent Court Order had been officially closed, Cravath filed an appeal against handing over the Shell discovery documents for use in the Dutch courts. This is for an imminent human rights action being brought by Esther Kiobel against Shell in its home country.

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