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Shell agrees to pay fines of £83m

The Times: Shell agrees to pay fines of £83m

“continuing criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice.”: “Both Euronext and AFM, the Dutch securities institute, are also investigating Shell”

By Carl Mortished, International Business Editor

July 30, 2004

SHELL will pay fines totalling £83 million to UK and US stock market regulators as a penalty for offences of market abuse and violation of securities laws relating to its misreporting of oil and gas reserves.

The payments, revealed yesterday by the oil company in a statement that did not concede liability, include £17 million to the Financial Services Authority, the largest fine ever imposed by the UK regulator, and a $120 million (£66 million) civil penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shell’s chairman, Jeroen Van der Veer, said the agreement meant there would be no further claims against the company by the FSA or the SEC.

He said the settlement was “a hopeful step in dealing with the reserves issue”. He would not comment on whether settlement with the SEC was a favourable signal in relation to the continuing criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice.

Both Euronext and AFM, the Dutch securities institute, are also investigating Shell for breach of stock market regulations.

The company could still face lengthy litigation from class action and derivative shareholders lawsuits already launched in the US.

Shell would not comment on the status of SEC or FSA investigations into the actions of former Shell executives, notably Sir Philip Watts, the former chairman.

Tim Morrison, acting finance director, said: “These (fines) do make the eyes water. They are not trivial.”

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