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Posts under ‘John Donovan’

Embarrassing facts Shell omitted from its history

Extract from page 10 (with our amendments in italics)

HISTORY

From 1907 until 2005, Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, p.l.c. were the two public parent companies of a group of companies known collectively as the “Royal Dutch/Shell Group”. In 2005, the Donovan’s beat us to the domain name “RoyalDutchShellGroup.com” and we lost a costly legal battle to seize it.

Operating activities were conducted through the subsidiaries of these parent companies. In 2005, Royal Dutch Shell plc became the single parent company of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and of The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, p.l.c., now The Shell Transport and Trading Company Limited. In 2005, the Donovan’s beat us to the domain name “RoyalDutchShellPlc.com” and we lost a costly legal battle to seize it. Royal Dutch Shell plc (the Company) is a public limited company registered in England and Wales and headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands.

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Donny Ching spin on Shell support for South African apartheid

By John Donovan

How much respect should we have for Shell Legal Director Donny Ching bearing in mind his attempt to rewrite the history of Shell’s shameful support for the dreadful apartheid regime in South Africa. Perhaps he is just ignorant about the facts. Mr Ching has given an account from his personal perspective as a student at Melbourne University nearly three decades ago. 

This is what he has said on the record:

At that time in Australia, and it was the same all over the world, there was a huge wave of protests about apartheid in South Africa.

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CURRENT LITIGATION INVOLVING SHELL

The following information is taken directly from Shell’s Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2016

PESTICIDE LITIGATION

Shell Oil Company (SOC), along with other agricultural chemical pesticide manufacturers and distributors, has been sued by public and quasi-public water purveyors alleging responsibility for groundwater contamination caused by applications of chemical pesticides. Most of these law suits assert various theories of strict liability and seek to recover actual damages, including water well treatment and remediation costs. All of the suits assert claims for punitive damages. There are approximately 30 such cases pending. Based on the claims asserted and SOC’s track record with regard to amounts paid to resolve varying claims, management does not expect that the outcome of these suits pending at December 31, 2016, will have a material impact on Shell, although no assurance can be provided.

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OPL 245: SHELL MI6 LOOSE CHATTER

Introduction by John Donovan

Published below are comments by Mr Bill Campbell, the retired HSE Group Auditor of Royal Dutch Shell. His remarks are in relation to the involvement of Shell and current?/former MI6 officers in the OPL 245 skulduggery currently involving multiple regulatory and legal authorities, including the Dutch Director of Public Prosecution and Dutch Police, the UK Serious Fraud Office, Italian and Nigerian Police and Prosecutors, the US Securities And Exchange Commission, and an investigation by the US Department of Justice under The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Inquest on BG Group/Shell merger

Even the remuneration committee’s ethics were questionable as they acted with impunity by awarding obscene annual bonuses to executives, despite multiple fatalities at operational locations.

By John Donovan

Further comments have been posted overnight on our Shell Blog in an ongoing discussion about Shell’s controversial takeover of the BG Group. To my certain knowledge Shell had its eyes set on British Gas back to at least the mid 1990’s. An important meeting I had in July 1995 with the then Chairman and Chief Executive of Shell UK Limited Dr Chris Fay was interrupted by matters relating to British Gas. A takeover bid was being actively considered. It was not until Ben van Beurden became Shell’s CEO that anyone at Shell had the guts to take a gamble. And it is a gamble. Oil prices are on the brink of a possible and even likely collapse. BTW, I very much agree with the comments made by “regular browser” about Shell’s claimed business principles.

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Steve Phimister, mastermind behind Shell’s takeover of BG Group?

By John Donovan

Yesterday, the sub-headline in a PR article about Steve Phimister published by EnergyVoice.com proclaimed: “The mastermind behind Royal Dutch Shell’s £36billion takeover of BG Group has been appointed to the board of industry trade association Oil and Gas UK”.

I wondered if the very impressive claim, perhaps made in the heat of excitement about his latest appointment, might upset his boss, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, who might believe that he masterminded the deal, not Phimister. Lo and behold the claim vanished overnight from the online article without explanation.

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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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The business ethics of Shell and Malcolm Brinded

By John Donovan

It is timely, given current OPL 245 events involving the integrity of Malcolm Brinded and Shell, to remind ourselves of his 6-page letter to Vince Cable a few years ago in his then capacity as UK Secretary of State for Business, describing Cable as the “contact minister for Shell”. Even if just an attempt to be jocular, the description was inappropriate. Since Vince Cable was once Shell’s Chief Economist, an approach on that basis, attempting to exploit his past relationship with Shell was entirely improper and created a clear conflict of interest on the part of the minister. Brinded was trying to persuade Cable to support Shell’s views in relation to the European Fuel Quality Directive. It is obvious from the content of the first paragraph that Shell was already exploiting to the hilt the fact that Cable was a past Shell man. The oil giant was trying to improperly influence/control the UK government just as it was doing with the corrupt Nigerian government.  

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More analysis of wiretapped BvB/Simon Henry phone call

By Bill Campbell (Retired HSE Group Auditor Shell International)

I have read through the Ben van Beurden/Simon Henry phone transcript but frankly cannot understand the apparently relaxed attitude, with many chuckles and laughter on the phone.

It seems clear also that RDS had been or were still pursuing some kind of internal investigation into the matter.

They raised but then thought lightly it would seem, of the emails that are incriminating, as though these did not involve their own employees whether direct or indirect, ex MI6 etc.

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OPL 245: Repeated warnings about the Integrity of Malcolm Brinded 

Below are some of the articles we have published about Brinded and his blind eye policy over the years. Was it the same blind eye approach to the corrupt activities in the OPL 245 deal, or were his actions incriminating? Personally, I doubt that he received a cut. Being unscrupulously ambitious is one thing. Being a crook is another.

By John Donovan

No one has issued more warnings that we have on this website about the integrity of Malcolm Brinded, often in conjunction with comments by the retired Shell International HSE Group Auditor, Bill Campbell.

Shown right is a self-explanatory “WANTED” poster we have had on permanent display on our websites for years and featured in many articles. Please also read the related 20-page forensic indictment by Bill Campbell published on 6 March 2015 under the title: The Case against Malcolm Brinded CBE. It was about the “Touch Fuck All” Brent Bravo scandal and cover-up stretching back to 1999, which cost the lives of Shell workers.

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Transcript of Wiretapped Ben van Beurden Simon Henry phone call

Transcript: Tap 5 – 716
TITLE: TAP 5 – 716
PERSONS NAME: Ben van Beurden (Shell CEO) & Simon Henry (Shell CFO)
DATE: 17 February 2016
TIME: 19:53:12
DURATION: 00:13:53

TIMECODE Name Dialogue
0:00 BVB Hey Simon
00.24 SH Hi Ben
00.25 SH Sorry, your missed call. I was, er, having something to eat.
00.30 BVB Yeah, I know you’re on leave, so am I. You obviously know what happened at the office today, so I just wanted to check in with you…
00.37 SH I’m actually in the office tomorrow morning.
00.40 BVB Oh will you be…
00.42 SH I’m leaving at lunchtime. I’ve been in Brussels today.
00.45 BVB Oh, I thought you were in Switzerland this week?
00.50 SH I fly down tomorrow afternoon, evening.
00.55- BVB Oh OK, so I… as I said I… just hold on, I just want to get away from the nanny. And so I just wanted to check in and see whether you’re alright. I trust you have been informed about what happened at the office and the fact that they have gone through both our rooms to get whatever information they needed to get.
1:20 SH Yeah. I spoke to Ronan [Cassidy, Shell Chief Human Resources & Corporate Officer] and Souli [Bouchla, Shell Executive Assistant] and I heard that. I hadn’t heard much else actually. That’s about it, all that I’ve heard…
1:302:00

2:30

3:00

BVB Yeah well I don’t know exactly of course the details of the events but I spoke with Michiel [Brandjes, Shell Company Secretary] and Ronan [Cassidy] three times during the day, and with Donny [Ling, Shell Legal Director] who is in Barcelona. So it looks as if they have some form of coordination between the Italian prosecutor, possibly … with a link into the DoJ, but we’re not sure yet. But, er, clearly something they have been preparing for and need to do now apparently also because of a statute of limitations that expires next month in Italy. But it… they were apparently … quite, er, firstly well prepared but also quite forceful and brusque this morning when they got hold of Annette [van Lisse, secretary to Ben van Beurden], they rattled a few people in the office probably. But during the day it sort of all turned into a fairly sort of professionally run organisation, certainly from our side, but also from the side of the prosecutor. Annette was… I spoke with Annette at the end of the day, apparently they had been in my office for 3 or 4 hours going through everything. I have nothing on OPL245 … but anyway they managed to take one folder which they thought was of relevance … no idea what that would be. Apparently they had been in your office … they were still in your office when I spoke with Annette at the end of the afternoon so they were going through things…
3:20 SH OK, I do know [unclear] apparently, a lot of papers. There’s nothing on OPL245 that I’m aware of. They’d be better off looking through electronic records.
3:33 BVB Yeah. And I think they were going to go to Chad’s office [Holliday, Shell chairman], which of course used to be Malcolm’s [Brinded, Shell Executive Director, Upstream International] office. And according to Souli [Bouchla] there is [unclear] there is a whole stack of Malcolm’s stuff in there…
3:48 SH Really? Mmm…
3:50 BVB …so I have no idea what it is, what that could be, yeah.
3:54 SH [Chuckles] Probably more interesting.
3:57 BVB [Chuckles] Yes. Er, you are aware of the sort of, not status, er, Donny [Ling] and the legal team have been up to in terms of the OPL245 forensic investigation that we doing ourselves?
4:16 SH I spoke to Donny [Ling] a couple of weeks ago… But I’m… Not in a forensic sense, to say where are you, what have you found, is there anything to be concerned about…? I didn’t have that kind of conversation with him. You may have had more, particularly if you spoke to him today.
4:375:00

5:30

BVB Yeah, well, they have gone through all the old email exchanges etc. I think the… I’ve been briefed a few times, verbally. They’ve given me a briefing the day before the audit committee because they were going to give a verbal update to the audit committee… So I take it you have [SH: Yes] heard the verbal update so you are probably also up to date with everything. But, er, to the extent that they may not have shared sort of the very latest… I don’t think they have found anything that was clearly incriminating or that sort of suggested thst we were colluding or doing anything inappropriate. But there was apparently some loose chatter between people from the team, particularly the people that we hired from MI6 who, er, must have said things like, “Well, yeah, you know, I wonder who gets a pay-off here and whatever”, so it’s unhelpful email exchanges. It’s, it’s … I haven’t seen them but apparently they were judged to be, you know, just pub talk in emails which was stupid. But nevertheless it’s there, so it, er…
5:57 SH And that was from the time of … the ENI payment, or from a subsequent investigation by us using people with that background?
6:076:30

7:00

7:30

8:00

BVB No, no, no. This is from the time of the ENI payment where, you know, it all was sort of figured out how to do this, and whatever. Apparently there was some really unhelpful emails in there, which then subsequently needed to be followed up with interviews to say, well, what do these emails mean? Well, we’re never going to get a good answer out of that, of course, but they had a list of people that they were going to interview. They have done a few like Anne Pickard [Shell Executive Vice President: Arctic; formerly Vice-President: sub-Saharan Africa] and a few others who still work for us. But they were also going to interview Peter Robinson [formerly Shell Vice-President: Africa]. I’m not sure whether they in the end managed to speak to him, because of course he can decline to be interviewed, he doesn’t work for us anymore. And they were going to interview Malcolm [Brinded] and they were going to interview Peter Voser [formerly Shell Chief Executive]. So, I’m not sure whether they were going to interview you but if you haven’t been approached then they’re probably not going to. It, er. So it’s, yeah, the whole… I got a briefing at some point from them… [unclear]… the law firm, who said, yeah, we don’t think we, we have, there is anything troublesome here but, yeah, at some point in time when it’s all done we have to make up our mind whether we just say “Well, that’s it, we’ve investigated everything that could be investigated and we conclude there is nothing wrong and we will put it to rest”. Or whether we just say, “Well, you know, there’s a few funny things here and maybe we should just disclose it to the DoJ.” Because it all happened at a time we were of course under deferred prosecution agreement, so, we should have maybe at the time been a more open with the DoJ than we now find we have been. Anyway we were not at that point of clarity or conclusion, so, in that sense… this dawn raid is, I won’t say premature, but it’s, we were not, we hadn’t concluded our own work.
8:27 SH I saw DoJ referenced. You mention that… I don’t think there for a moment that with the Dutch side with the possible Italian connection, that do we know definitely it’s definitely DoJ, then, in the US?
8:42 BVB Sorry, say that again. You were…?
8:45 SH I only saw from the, when I spoke to Ronan [Cassidy], plus early messages from Mikhail [Brandjes], that it was the Dutch director of public prosecution and essentially found the Italian link, but did it pick up anything formally, like the DoJ and the Americans?
9:039:30

10:00

10:30

11:00

BVB No, no. It didn’t. When I spoke with Michiel [Brandjes] this morning, and Donny [Ling], it… at some point in time they said that the DoJ was involved and that it was coordinated with the DoJ etc. And then when I spoke with them this afternoon that story had been clarified and they said no there was no DoJ involvement. And the crisis team met at 1 o’clock and, er, sort of went over who do we need to inform. So do we need to inform the DoJ, do we need to inform the Serious Fraud Office, do we need to inform the SEC? And they were going to reflect on that. And so I thought, spoke with Ronan [Cassidy] and said OK let the team properly reflect on that legally and everything and else. For what it’s worth my view on it would be: the DoJ, yes, because we have been asked to collaborate earlier on in an investigation that they were doing in ENI, so it would only be logical we would inform them and most probably they are informed anyway so it doesn’t really matter too much. The Serious Fraud Office, same thing, I would think. Inform them: it’s probably better anyway. [SH: Yes, I agree]. The SEC, I don’t know, to be perfectly honest. So I asked them to contact Joe Babits [Shell Associate Counsel (US Securities)] to get a view on this, whether it was necessary or appropriate or desirable, or whatever. Because the last thing you want of course is some sort of request to issue a stock exchange release when there is nothing to be said other than that we are being asked to provide information. So I said let Joe [Babits] take a view on it. I know that Joe [Babits] has been informed and involved in all this in the lead up to the prospectus issuance, so he will be sensitised to it all, it will not get him cold.
11:13 SH My instinct would be the same. The SFO because, ultimately, they are following [unclear] in to Etete, in the UK, where Etete is, I think they’re trying to extradite him. And, er, in the US the DoJ … The FCPA is a DoJ issue, not the SEC.
11:38 BVB Yeah, exactly. So it’s er, the SEC has no jurisdiction here. It’s more, you know, is there anything that is share-price sensitive. Well, yeah I guess, depending on how you look at it there is – but everything is share-price sensitive if you’re not very careful, huh.
11:56 SH [Laughs] At this particular point in time, that seems to be the case…
12:00 BVB Sorry?
12:02 SH OK… At this point in time, everything seems to be share price sensitive [chuckles].
12:05 BVB [Chuckles] Exactly, exactly. Anyway, so, I just wanted to touch base with you, see whether you, whether you had any reflections [SH: Well, thanks], you were alright, etc. If you are in the office, I’m in France, so, let’s see whether there’s a need to, or, why don’t we just check in tomorrow with each other and see how things are going?
12:25 SH I will go in because if I don’t it will look odd because [unclear] I was due to go in just for a couple of hours, well, four hours, tomorrow morning at least. And [unclear] because she stayed with them until they had finished. She wasn’t clear if they were coming back, I don’t think they were clear if they were coming back [laughs]. And if they are there, then we’ll just deal with it…
12:53 BVB Sorry, say that again?
12:55 SH If they are there, then we’ll just deal with it in a professional manner.
12:59 BVB Yeah, yeah. You probably … know this, so don’t, don’t volunteer any information that is not requested. So it, er… And we just… I think probably they have gone through everything that they need to go through. They may just request your PC and your phone to be imaged. But it, er…
13:24 SH I wonder if [unclear] anyway, of course, do it [tonight/offline?].
13:28 BVB Offline, yeah.
13:29 SH Offline.
13:30 BVB Yeah.
13:31 SH OK.
13:32 BVB OK, very good.
13:34 SH Thanks for the follow up, then. I’ll let you know if anything happens tomorrow [chuckles].
13:38 BVB Yeah, yeah. Well, we’ll talk.
13:40 SH Hopefully nothing tomorrow. I suspect nothing happens for quite a while, but let’s see…
13:46 BVB Yeah. OK, thanks Simon. You have a good evening, then. Bye.
13:50 SH Thanks, mate. Take care. You too. Bye.
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