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Reuters: ex-Shell boss loses appeal against UK regulator

Reuters: x-Shell boss loses appeal against UK regulator

“Philip Watts had argued that his reputation was unfairly impinged by the Financial Service Authority (FSA) ruling that the company, now called Royal Dutch Shell Plc, had engaged in “unprecedented misconduct” that resulted in market abuse, for which it was fined 17 million pounds ($31.06 million).”: Tuesday Sept 13, 2005

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A UK tribunal has dismissed an appeal from the former chairman of the Shell oil group (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research)

(RDSb.L: Quote, Profile, Research) against the UK financial regulator’s censure of the Anglo-Dutch company over the overstating of its oil reserves.

Philip Watts had argued that his reputation was unfairly impinged by the Financial Service Authority (FSA) ruling that the company, now called Royal Dutch Shell Plc, had engaged in “unprecedented misconduct” that resulted in market abuse, for which it was fined 17 million pounds ($31.06 million).

Shell’s disclosure in 2004 that it had overstated its oil reserves by around a quarter led to a sharp fall in its shares and the ousting of Watts and other top managers.

Watts argued that because he was responsible for Shell’s statements on its reserves as chairman and previously as head of exploration and production, criticism of Shell on this matter was effectively criticism of him.

The FSA’s rules stipulate that anyone censured in their rulings must be informed before the ruling is published so that they can give their side of the story.

Watts argued that the FSA had broken its own rules by failing to inform him ahead of its ruling.

The Financial Services and Markets Tribunal rejected this argument. “We are satisfied that the decision notice does not identify the Applicant,” the tribunal said in a statement on its website.

“There is no reason in our view why a market abuse allegation directed at a company must necessarily be taken to impute criticism to particular individuals.”

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