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BBC NEWS: Tribunal upholds Shell criticism

BBC NEWS: Tribunal upholds Shell criticism

Wednesday 14 September 2005

Former Shell chairman Sir Philip Watts has lost an appeal against the UK’s city watchdog over how it handled the probe into Shell’s oil reserves crisis.

Sir Philip was forced to step down in January 2004 after the oil giant cut its reserves estimates by 20%.

Sir Philip accused the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of violating his rights by fining Shell £17m without giving him the opportunity to respond.

However, a tribunal has concluded that the FSA acted properly.

Corporate criticism

The former Shell boss argued that he had been prejudiced by the regulator’s decision to penalise the company, given that it was also concluding a separate investigation into Sir Philip’s role.

The Financial Services and Markets Tribunal rejected his appeal saying that Sir Philip had not been explicitly named in the FSA’s ruling.

“The criticisms in it are made at the level of corporate personality and are not made of individuals whether singularly or collectively,” the body said in a statement.

Sir Philip, who had worked for Shell for more than 30 years prior to his departure, has vowed to fight to clear his name.

“Sir Philip continues to believe that the FSA’s findings in the final notice against Shell are flawed,” Herbert Smith, the law firm acting on Sir Philip’s behalf, said in a statement.

“Sir Philip acted properly and in good faith at all times.”

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