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4 former Shell execs are a step closer to being charged for an alleged $1.1 billion bribery scheme

Camilla Hodgson: 18 October 2017

LONDON – Italian prosecutors have requested to charge four former executives at oil giant Shell over an alleged $1.1 billion bribery scheme in Nigeria.

The Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued a formal Request for Indictment on bribery charges for the former employees, who have been named, and for the company itself.

In the Italian justice system, a judge now has to rule on whether or not to take the charges forward.

However, Global Witness, a campaign group providing evidence to the prosecution, says its lawyers have recommended that this request is the equivalent of charging. read more

OPL 245: SHELL SPY TALK

By John Donovan

Fascinating to read email correspondence between former MI6 officers John Copleston and Guy Colegate hired by Shell to assist in dodgy oil deals involving sinister players.

Common-sense suggests that their expensive specialist skills would not be needed for any straightforward honest business activity.

John Copleston was identified as a Strategic Investment Advisor for Shell Exploration & Production Africa Limited. One of the individuals described by Ben van Beurden as former MI6 people hired by Shell.  read more

Shell executives charged in lead up to landmark trial over billion dollar Nigerian bribery scheme

Sunday 15 October 2017

Senior Royal Dutch Shell executives have been charged in Italy for their role in a vast bribery scheme that deprived the Nigerian people of over a billion dollars, the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on Friday. Those facing trial include Malcolm Brinded CBE, the second most powerful person in the company when the deal was struck (1). Shell itself is also facing bribery charges alongside the four named individuals.

Malcolm Brinded Charged

This historic decision follows a dramatic U-turn in which it admitted that it knew its billion dollar payment would go to convicted money-launderer and former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, in exchange for Nigerian oil block OPL 245 in 2011. read more

Sensational Guy Colegate/MI6 document found in OPL 245 evidence seized from Shell

Russian President Putin and his Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev 

By John Donovan

An Italian national daily business newspaper has today published an article revealing that it has a copy of a Shell internal document said to allegedly implicate Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev in large-scale oil deal corruption. Said to be his personal retirement plan. 

The document was hidden within thousands of documents and emails the Milan Public Prosecutor obtained following the seizure (from Shell’s Netherlands HQ?) of paper and electronic documentation relating to Shell’s involvement in the OPL 245 scandal. read more

GERMAN TV: John Donovan’s revelations cost Shell billions

ARD TV in Germany — the German equivalent of BBC TV — on Saturday, 21 April 2012, broadcast a feature about John Donovan and his website (royaldutchshellplc.com) as part of the EUROPA MAGAZINE programme.

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

FROM PAGES 6, 7, & 8

EXTRACT BEGINS

A professional translation of the German-language narration is printed below in italics:

John Donovan: A lone fighter against Shell

Next to the London Eye, the Shell Centre stands tall. Its enemy stands at the door.

“You might find that interesting,” says John Donovan. He distributes flyers to inform people about the oil company’s drilling projects.

“Shell destroys communities,” is what the banner says. An older gentleman and a handful of like-minded people are aggravating one of the world’s largest oil giants.

“We are putting Shell in a tough spot. What we’re doing is embarrassing them by distributing those leaflets. But they can’t do anything about it, because what we say is true and we can prove it.” read more

Is Eni even more corrupt than Shell?

It seems unlikely, given Shell’s appalling track record, but in view of the latest news that a corruption probe of Eni now includes its dealings in several countries around the globe, it may be the case that Eni is indeed even more corrupt than its OPL 245 partner-in-crime, Royal Dutch Shell. 

Malcolm Brinded, who played a key role for Shell in the OPL 245 skullduggery, remains at large and a director of the Shell Foundation. I suppose they have to keep him on a payroll to make sure he does not turn on his colleagues, including former MI6 spooks employed by Shell, John Copleston and Guy Colgate.  read more

John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Genesis

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

In 1979, our company, Don Marketing supplied promotional games that were used to promote petrol sales on the forecourts of most petrol brands in the UK, including Shell.

In 1981, we moved into a contractual relationship with Shell as a result of a presentation I made at Shell-Mex House in The Strand, the then London HQ of Shell UK Limited.

I put forward a proposal for Shell to launch a legal version of a promotional game called Make Money that Shell had abandoned in the 1960‘s out of concern that it was in breach of UK lottery laws. read more

Shell defamatory posters, leaflets and press releases attacking Donovan

By John Donovan

My families falling out with Shell took place over two decades ago.

Some indication of the degree of acrimony can be gauged from the content of posters Shell put on public display on 23 September 1998 at the Shell Centre in London, specifically targeting my father and me. I have never heard of a multinational corporation doing anything like this before or since.

This is what the posters said:

YOU MAY BE HANDED A LEAFLET OUTSIDE SHELL CENTRE BY MR ALFRED DONOVAN, FORMALLY OF A COMPANY CALLED DON MARKETING UK LIMITED.  YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT JOHN DONOVAN, A DIRECTOR OF DON MARKETING UK LIMITED, MR ALFRED DONOVAN’S SON, HAS ISSUED A WRIT AGAINST SHELL UK CLAIMING THAT HIS COMPANY INVENTED THE SMART LOYALTY CARD PROGRAMME.  MR DONOVAN’S ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN VERY CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED BY SHELL UK AND DISCUSSED IN DETAIL WITH MR DONOVAN AND HIS SOLICITORS. THE CLAIM IS BEING VIGOROUSLY DEFENDED.  AS SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW, MR DONOVAN HAS MADE SOME OFFENSIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT SHELL UK COLLEAGUES. WE REJECT SUCH ALLEGATIONS ABSOLUTELY AND ARE WHOLLY CONFIDENT THAT OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE ACTED IN THIS MATTER AT ALL TIMES IN GOOD FAITH AND IN LINE WITH OUR LONG STANDING BUSINESS PRINCIPLES. read more

Hakluyt Spy Firm Cyber Offshoot

By John Donovan

I note that the London-based corporate intelligence spy firm Hakluyt closely associated with the dark side of *Shell, including Shell Corporate Affairs Security and Shell Global Security, also operates an expanding offshoot called Hakluyt Cyber Limited. It is unclear whether the offshoot engages in offensive or defensive operations on behalf of its corporate clients, such as Shell. Hakluyt Cyber has been described as a blue chip company.

It is the case that cyber attacks against this website have been investigated by a specialist cyber unit of the UK police. The perpetrators were not caught. By coincidence or otherwise, the attacks ceased briefly each time I brought what was going on to the attention of the Company Secretary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. read more

End to Shell’s involvement in the most controversial infrastructure project in Ireland’s history

Protest event in Ireland during “Shell to Sea” campaign

Joe Brennan: 4 Sept 2017: Extracts from article: “Vayu warns of volatile prices for winter gas”

Ireland imports much of its gas needs through the UK, even though the Corrib field off the Mayo coast, which started production in late 2015, has the potential to meet up to 60 per cent of the country’s gas needs and is expected to supply fuel for up to 20 years. Discovered 21 years ago, the field was dogged by years of opposition before natural gas started flowing almost two years ago. FULL ARTICLE read more

Kiobel Writ: The Dutch battlefront against Shell

For years, Shell encouraged the Nigerian regime to take (more) effective measures designed to ensure Shell’s return to Ogoniland. Shell did this despite the fact that it had meanwhile learned from experience that in its actions, the regime frequently violated human rights and many people were killed.

By John Donovan

Earlier today we published an article about the latest legal moves on behalf on Esther Kiobel in the US courts against a Shell law firm. We now return to the publication of information about her legal action against Shell in the Netherlands. The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.

Extracts begin

8.8 Shell Nigeria Shell operated as a single entity

8.8.1 Introduction read more

Shell Leaked Transformation Plans Part 6

By John Donovan

Published below is a further multi-page segment from Shell’s leaked internal document mentioned in a Reuters/New York Times article published last week: Shell Plans 400 Job Cuts at Dutch Projects and Technology Department. The plans are much greater in scope than suggested by the headline. Their implementation will result in a managerial jobs upheaval and significant job cuts as a consequence of the acquisition of BG Group and the decline in oil prices. Once again, I have left in the page numbers, which appear at the foot of each page and sometimes interrupt paragraphs. read more

Retired Shell official accuses company of ‘more leaks than the White House’

Bill Campbell, retired HSE GROUP AUDITOR, Shell International, comments on Paddy Briggs damning conclusion about Shell FAT CATS

The Lonely Elephant

Prelude may or may not turn out to be a white elephant but certainly from the leaked transformation documents it would appear it will be in any case a lonely elephant. 20 some years in gestation it appears that mega FLNG projects are out. As for the fat cats Paddy if Shell continues to leak (Pernis et al), more leaks than the White House, the fat cats may not be around. Are they taking their eye of the ball – who is running the business, with all this transformation stuff and reported loss of common sense and experience I read about on this website from current employees, it makes you think. read more

Kiobel Writ: Shell bribed witnesses in Ogoni 9 trial

Already during the trial in 1995 two witnesses testified that they had been bribed to make incriminating statements in exchange for money and a job at Shell. In their statements Nkpah and Danwi named a number of other witnesses who were bribed by Shell and the regime…: Separate extract: “We knew that Shell, the prosecutor and the members of the tribunal were working hand in glove with each other. 

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.  

Shell and the Abacha regime operated in tandem

Extracts begin

8.6 Shell contributed to the outcome of the Ogoni 9 trial

8.6.1 Shell was involved in the bribery of witnesses

Already during the trial in 1995 two witnesses testified that they had been bribed to make incriminating statements in exchange for money and a job at Shell. Charles Danwi and Naayone Nkpah made a statement under oath on video on 16 and 27 February 1995 respectively, which was submitted as an affidavit to the Civil Disturbances Tribunal.409 The Tribunal however disregarded the evidence. In their statements Nkpah and Danwi named a number of other witnesses who were bribed by Shell and the regime, that is Celestine Meabe, Kevin Badara,410 Limpa Bah, Peter Fii, Saturday Iye and David Keenom (exhibit 45: Public Deposition Naayone Nkpah, 19 March 2004, pp. 19-22; exhibit 21: Affidavit Charles Danwi, 16 February 1995).411 The false statements of these bribed witnesses were decisive in the conviction of the Ogoni 9.412 The statements of Danwi and Nkpah show that shortly after the murders of the traditional Ogoni leaders they were pressured by the main prosecution witnesses Alhaji Kobani (the brother of the murdered Edward Kobani) and Priscilla Vikue413 to sign a false statement in which they accused the since apprehended MOSOP and NYCOP leaders of the murders.414 Initially they refused to do this, whereupon they were placed under house arrest for some time. Danwi testified that he was then promised the following:

“I was promise[d] that after the case in Court I will be given a house any place in the country, a Contract from Shell and OMPADEC and some amount of money to buy my musical instrument. […] On another date of meeting in Kobani’s House, representative from Shell, OMPADEC, security agents, Govt officials and the Kobani, Orage and Badey’s family were present and they all agreed. The family gave some money say that the money come from Govt. and Shell. In my case I was given N 30,000,- from Shell and Govt.”415

  • Nkpah testified to the same effect and in his fuller statement in the American Kiobel case also said who was involved in the bribery. Apart from Alhaji Kobani and some other family members of the murdered Ogoni chiefs, they were also various representatives of the regime and the oil industry, among them Shell’s lawyer O.C.J. Okocha.416 Nkpah was also promised a house, 30,000 naira and a contract at Shell, OMPADEC or the government.417 In his deposition he said that Celestine Meabe had asked Alhaji Kobani where the 30,000 naira came from, to which Kobani replied:

    “This money come from Shell, government of Nigeria. This is why the chairman, the lawyer representative is here.”.418

  • Kobani introduced this Shell lawyer to Nkpah as O.C.J. Okocha.419 Nkpah also said that Kobani had told him that “anything that is being given to us […] basically is from the government and the Shell and Ubadek [OMPADEC]”.420
  •  Just like Danwi, in exchange for signing the false testimony Nkpah was given a job in the transport section of the municipality of Gokana where, in addition to the 30,000 naira, he received a monthly salary without actually being employed.421
  • Gani Fawehinmi, the suspects’ lawyer, introduced Danwi’s statement on the second day of the Ogoni 9 trial (on 21 February 1995):

    “My Lord, he [Charles Danwi] is number 22 on the list of witnesses. He has sworn to an Affidavit and he has exhibited what is called a principal statement. He accused the Government [and] Shell Development Company for bribing him with thirty thousand naira (N30.000) and a house. He has made a full disclosure that what they have was not his statement […].”422

  •  Although Kiobel’s lawyer Alhaji Oso again tried to stress the importance of the bribery on the third day423 and explained that the reliability of the witnesses was the basis of the case,424 Nkpah and Danwi’s affidavits were not admitted as exculpatory evidence.425 At that point, Danwi and Nkpah had already gone into hiding out of fear for repercussions by the regime and could not therefore give evidence to the hearing. Their fear proved to be well-founded: both men were put on the regime’s blacklist.426 Ultimately they were forced to flee Nigeria and they were accepted as refugees in Benin.427
  • Nkpah is currently living in the United States and is prepared to substantiate his statements in detail as a witness if necessary. Danwi’s current whereabouts are unknown.
  • 8.6.2 Shell maintained direct contact with the judges of the Special Tribunal during the trial read more

    The Ogoni 9 trial served to safeguard the common interests of Shell and the Abacha regime

    Shell falsely claimed to be following an apolitical course whilst exerting its influence through quiet diplomacy. In reality, it was very much involved with the course of the events during the trial… Shell’s lawyer was present at the bribing of witnesses who had to give incriminating statements against the “Ogoni 9”; they were offered compensation and a position at Shell;

    By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.

    Shell and the Abacha regime operated in tandem

    Extracts begin

    8.5 The Ogoni 9 trial served to safeguard the common interests of Shell and the regime

    8.5.1 Introduction

    1. The Ogoni 9 trial was the culmination of Operation Restore Order in Ogoniland. With the Ogoni 9 trial Abacha disposed of the Ogoni’s main political representatives in an extreme attempt to finally break the resistance. The trial served a common goal, the resumption of oil extraction in Ogoniland, and followed the ceaseless urging of Shell to bring order to matters. Professor Olubayo Oluduro said about this:“Although Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other eight Ogonis were ostensibly charged and tried for murder, it is obvious to the world that they were actually arrested and executed for expressing their discontent with the environmental harm caused by Shell and the Government in their native Ogoniland.”383
    2. As was explained in chapter 4, the Ogoni 9 trial, which commenced 6 February 1995, was a carefully prepared show trial. The 15 suspects had, when the trial started, already been held in custody for more than eight months without official charge, although it was clear that they had been apprehended on suspicion of involvement in the murder of the four traditional Ogoni leaders on 21 May 1994. Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barinem Kiobel and Baribor Bera did not hear the official charge until 28 January 1995, while Nordu Eawo and Paul Levula received the indictment on 28 February 1995. In this period the hearings of the specially set up Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal also started. Footage of these hearings is submitted as exhibit 247. Fragments from them can also be seen in the revealing documentary “In-Remembrance Ken Saro-Wiwa” (exhibit 252).384 The trial would last until 31 October 1995 and end with the death penalty being carried out on nine of the fifteen suspects, who were executed on 10 November 1995. The serious human rights violations to which the suspects were exposed during the trial and that ultimately led to the executions are described in chapter 4.
    1. Because it soon became clear that the suspects would not receive a fair trial and were in fact political prisoners because of their opposition to Shell, all eyes were on the company. Shell falsely claimed to be following an apolitical course whilst exerting its influence through quiet diplomacy. In reality, it was very much involved with the course of the events during the trial, and in the meantime fully dedicating itself to its negotiations with the regime regarding the NLNG project which would be settled at the same time. At no time whatsoever did Shell reveal any dissatisfaction with the course of events, not even when it sent a tepid letter to Abacha just before the execution of the Ogoni 9 with a request for a pardon, for which it had apologised to the regime in advance.385 While Nigeria had by then been internationally degenerated into a pariah state, Shell continued to collaborate with the regime just as intensively.
    2. The fact that Shell’s involvement in the trial went beyond implicit support is evident from the following facts and circumstances, which are explained below:
      •  Shell itself sent a lawyer to the trial, who kept it well informed and supported the position of the prosecutor by means of a so-called watching brief;
      •  Shell lied publicly about the role that its lawyer fulfilled at the trial;
      •  during the trial Shell maintained contacts with the judges who had been appointed to decide on the case;
      •  Shell’s lawyer was present at the bribing of witnesses who had to give incriminating statements against the “Ogoni 9”; they were offered compensation and a position at Shell;
      •  Shell’s protégé Okuntimo played a dominant role during the trial;
      •  at no time did Shell publicly or discretely distance itself from the course of events during the trial;
      • Shell kept emphasising its economic interests to the regime and during the trial negotiated with the regime regarding new projects in Nigeria. One month after the executions the large-scale National Liquid Natural Gas project was announced, by which the collaboration between the regime and Shell was extended for many years.

    8.5.2 Shell sent its lawyer to look after its interests

    281. Shell sent its own lawyer O.C.J. Okocha and his colleagues to the tribunal with a so- called ‘watching brief’. A watching brief in the Nigerian legal system is a way for a third party to keep informed of developments in proceedings in order to safeguard its direct interests in them. To this end the lawyer who has the watching brief usually works closely with the public prosecutor. Nigerian jurisprudence shows that a watching brief may be refused if a party has no interest in the trial: read more

    Kiobel Writ: Shell and the Abacha regime operated a joint intelligence service

    The extent of Shell’s infiltration of Nigerian politics later became clear from the messages from the American embassy in Nigeria published by WikiLeaks. In them Executive Vice President of Shell in Africa at the time, Ann Pickard, boasted to the American ambassador that the Nigerian government had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to every ministry in the Nigerian government and was therefore aware of everything happening there

    By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by volumous evidence.

    Shell and the Abacha regime operated in tandem

    Extracts begin:

    8.4.4 Shell and the regime operated a joint intelligence service

    267. Together with the State Security Service (“SSS”, the national intelligence and security service) Shell maintained its own network of informants. According to George Ukpong, Shell had daily contact with the commissioner of police of Rivers State and the director of the SSS in this period.362 The SSS, according to Upkong, “is one of the security agencies rendering valuable assistance in support of SPDC security operations in the state”; the SSS “has provided assistance in meeting some of our staff training needs” and “has been of particular assistance to [Shell] in the area of crime intelligence acquisition”. read more

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