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The Times: Ex-MI6 man spies opening as head of GPW

The Times       

April 10, 2006

Ex-MI6 man spies opening as head of GPW

By Liz Chong

ANDREW FULTON, the former head of MI6 in Washington, has been appointed chairman of GPW, a leading firm of corporate investigators.

Mr Fulton, 62, was thrust into the limelight in 2000 when he was revealed to be a former spy and forced to step down as legal adviser to the Lockerbie Commission.

A visiting professor at Glasgow University, Mr Fulton had been appointed to the school’s panel of legal experts briefing the press on the trial of two Libyans accused of the 1988 bombing.

At the time, Mr Fulton’s relatives described him as “not a James Bond type”. Yet he had been among dozens of MI6 officers named by the rebel Richard Tomlinson in 1999.

Mr Fulton, currently chairman of the Scottish North American Business Council, declined to comment on his past. However, he told The Times: “I have developed a pretty good network in the business community. I think I can open doors for GPW.”

GPW is one of a handful of boutiques in London that specialise in business intelligence, conducting investigations for companies or private equity houses probing their bid targets or potential business partners. It is common for these firms to appoint well-connected individuals to their board, in the hope that they will help to win business.

The sleuthing industry recruits heavily from the intelligence services. One firm, Hakluyt, is staffed almost entirely by ex-intelligence staff.

Mr Fulton was previously head of the Scottish arm of Control Risks Group, one of the biggest investigations firms. He began his career in 1969 when he was sent to Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War. He served in East Berlin in the late 1970s and was part of the British delegation to the United Nations from 1989 to 1992.

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Until a few years ago Sir William Purves and the late Sir Peter Holmes were the ultimate spymasters of Hakluyt. Sir William was the Chairman of Hakluyt and Sir Peter was the President of the Hakluyt Foundation which had an intelligence oversight function. Both gentlemen were simultaneously directors/shareholders in Shell and Hakluyt.

In 2001 The Sunday Times revealed in a front page story that Shell has used a Hakluyt operative, a serving member of the German Secret Service, as a freelance undercover agent in missions targeted against Shell’s perceived enemies including Greenpeace and The Body Shop. The agent engaged in deception, sabotage and intelligence gathering. Shell had previously admitted also using “enquiry agents” in activities directed at the operators of this website which involved deception and fake documents/identity.

Some self-explanatory correspondence is published below including some extraordinary correspondence directly with Hakluyt:



I am an 87 year old partly disabled war pensioner.

I am not one of your constituents but I want to bring to your attention a matter of public concern to everyone interested in the fundamental right of a UK citizen to a fair trial, free of witness intimidation by corporate sponsored undercover agents.

I have supplied the Lord Chancellor with evidence that all of our key witnesses in a legal action against Shell UK Limited were undermined and/or neutralised by undercover investigators some of whom Shell has admitted hiring.  

In a systematic fashion every one of our witnesses was intimidated. That is fundamentally wrong. The same tactics were used against us. My letter to Lord Falconer is published on my website


email address is

It seems that multinational corporations use undercover agents supplied by firms such as Hakluyt because it makes them once removed from direct responsibility for any unpleasant/illegal actions which might subsequently be exposed. In other words, scope for plausible denial with blame being attached to the intelligence firm, rather than the sponsoring client. This may explain the use of so-called “private contractors” in the interrogation of American held prisoners in Iraq. One such private intelligence firm involved, Titan Corporation, is the American equivalent to Hakluyt.

I first wrote to every MP in 1998 warning of a sinister aspect to Shell UK and a corporate culture of cover-up and deceit deeply ingrained at the highest levels of the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Therefore news reports of cover-up, deception and intrigue at Shell regarding the shortfall in oil and gas reserves hold no surprises to me. What I have to tell you involves the same Shell senior management figures named in the recent class action law suits alleging fraud and deceit. (Shell has just downgraded its oil reserves for the fourth time in as many months).

Shell internal emails reveal a conspiracy to mislead investors including numerous pension funds. The deception involved the top management at Shell some of whom still remain in their highly paid jobs. There is even talk of sending a £1m payoff cheque to Sir Philip Watts, the recently sacked Group Chairman. Presumably to secure his cooperation in the pending multibillion dollar law suits. It is all reminiscent of the Mad Hatters Tea Party.

I am a long term Shell shareholder. In 1998 I also wrote to every Shell Transport director bringing to their attention sinister undercover activity against my family in relation to a lawsuit my son had brought against Shell. I recently discovered to my horror that I was in fact communicating directly with the then spymasters of “Hakluyt”, a shadowy organisation closely linked with MI6, specialising in undercover operations for corporate clients, including Shell.  I understand that many MP’s believe that Hakluyt is the commercial arm of MI6.

Directors/shareholders in Shell Transport were simultaneously directors/shareholders in Hakluyt. In fact Shell directors including a former Royal Dutch/Shell Group Chairman were at the helm of Hakluyt as its President and Chairman. Shell has admitted using Hakluyt in widespread undercover activities against its perceived enemies (Sunday Times article 17/6/01). Documents/sundaytimes/sundaytimesspied8april.htm

How could Shell promise in its “Statement of General Business Principles” transparency, integrity and honesty in all its dealings and yet be part and parcel of a sinister spying organisation whose stock in trade is deception and trickery? There is a huge credibility gap between these two extremes. Even Shell’s Code of Ethics is not what it seems. Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman has confirmed in writing that Shell’s promises of integrity have no legal standing. Like a bet with a bookmaker they are binding in honour only. They are intended to create an image of a highly principled multinational but in reality are worthless; a sham.

My family, our witnesses and our solicitor were besieged and intimidated by undercover agents in the run up to the High Court trial. Burglaries occurred at the residences of a key witness, my son’s solicitor, and at our own house. Our privileged documents were examined. Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman admitted in writing the activities of one undercover agent who was caught red-handed illegally checking our mail during an intelligence gathering mission. Kendall Freeman, the solicitors acting for Shell made the same written admission but warned us in a letter that other agents were also being used against us. This was also meant to intimidate us.

In addition to the covert operations against us and various NGO’s including Greenpeace and Body Shop, Shell simultaneously set up and paid for a private army of 1400 Police spies supporting the then murderous regime in Nigeria ( Mail on Sunday article 4 April 04)

The preparation and prosecution of my sons High Court Trial against Shell was completely undermined by the “no holds barred” tactics used against us. One key witness, a former Shell manager of long standing was too frightened to give evidence. The Police carried out enquiries but Shell obviously did not disclose its shameful expertise via Hakluyt in using the very tactics being investigated; tactics which in a UK setting, amounted to a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.  

This is why I have written to the Lord Chancellor seeking a police investigation. I have also sought assurances about the impartiality of the trial judge who has declined to answer a straightforward question about a possible professional/personal connection with the son of Shell’s Group Chairman at the time of the trial, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart. The judge is a man of the very highest integrity but I see no reason why he and others involved refuse to answer a legitimate question. I would be grateful if you could support my request to Lord Falconer for an investigation.  

Please visit to read my sworn Affidavit concerning these matters. You will also find the world’s most comprehensive news portal website covering the Royal Dutch/Shell Group (on which my correspondence with Shell is being published).

Yours sincerely

Alfred Donovan



2 June 2004

Mr Christopher James


Hakluyt & Company Limited

34 Upper Brook Street



3 PAGES BY FAX ONLY TO: O1144(0)2074911844

Dear Mr James

As I am sure you are aware, your firms name and alleged activities are featured on the website

Someone has recently remarked that your firms name appears in a considerable amount of the correspondence published on the website. They asked if I had ever contacted Hakluyt to provide an opportunity for your firm to clarify the situation.  I had to admit that I had not done so. This is why I am now writing to you.

I have documents which prove that Shell Transport and Trading Co directors/shareholders – one a former Group Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group – have simultaneously been directors/major shareholders in Hakluyt. As you know, that is a matter of public record.

One titled Shell Transport director, the late Sir Peter Holmes, was the President of The Hakluyt Foundation. Another titled Shell Transport director, Sir William Purves, was the Chairman of Hakluyt & Company Limited.  On 20 October 2003 you and he co-signed and approved the Financial Statements for the company submitted to Companies House. Thus Shell directors were the ultimate spymasters of Hakluyt which employs many former MI6 agents including your good self (a founder of the firm). 

I had no idea at the time when Police were investigating matters involving undercover activity against my family and I (some of which was admitted by Shell) that Shell was so intimately associated with a firm whose whole expertise is based on covert operations. Shell did not disclose this potentially materially important connection to the Police. 

I agree that it is only fair to put some questions directly to you so that any misconceptions or mistakes can be rectified.

1. Can you kindly advise whether Hakluyt has had any contact with Shell in regards to my family or me or our former business?

2. Has Shell ever used your firm’s services in relation to my family, me or our former business?

3. Has the mysterious Paris based “spook”, Mr XXXXX XXXXX, ever had any association with Hakluyt? It is reasonably certain from his credentials that Mr XXXXX is a member of the intelligence community. Courtesy of the US Freedom of Information Act, a report of his initial involvement in a US intelligence project is published on the US National Security Archive website.

4. Has Mr “Christopher Phillips”, purportedly a “director” of “Cofton Consultants” (a non existence company) ever had any association with Hakluyt? Mr Phillips, an admitted Shell undercover agent, used outright deception (including presenting fake documents) during his clandestine mission, which Shell laughable described as “routine credit enquiries”.  As you may know, he was caught red-handed illegally checking private mail at our offices.

5. Does your firm have an on-going close relationship with Shell?

6. Did Shell use your firms’ services as alleged in the Sunday Times story published on 17 June 2001?

7. Is your firm a front for MI6 as many MP’s seem to believe i.e. the commercial arm of MI6? This speculation is of course based on solid foundations – the background to your firm and its support and blessings from the highest level of MI6. 

These are all straightforward questions and I will happily publish your response on an unedited basis. I will understand if you only choose to answer some questions. This is your opportunity to disavow any involvement by Hakluyt in the Donovan/Shell affair if that is the case and to put right any misconceptions.

Please be advised that I fully support the activities of MI5 and MI6 when they are engaged in the UK national interest, for example in the fight against terrorists. 

However it is entirely inappropriate if such resources have been utilised or highjacked by an arrogant deceitful multinational giant (and/or by a collection of the establishment elite) for their own purposes e.g. to counter legitimate campaigning activity and/or litigation brought in the UK courts.

In other words, I would strongly object to the “establishment” using a publicly owned and funded resource against what they consider to be anti-establishment threats to their status and position.  I note in this connection that the list of titled individuals closely associated with your spying firm reads like a roll call of the establishment – what I have described as a titled mafia. A unique collection of the most powerful and wealthy people in the UK brought together in an enterprise which to ordinary people like myself appears sinister and disturbing.

In this connection, please also be aware that in the interests of the personal safety of my family and me, I have recently written to all MP’s, so that they are fully conversant with these matters.

Shell has for some reason ignored all questions relating to Hakluyt. However, if you confirm in the terms set out above that Hakluyt has had no association with Shell in regards to these matters then I will make no further reference to Hakluyt in correspondence. Furthermore, if you so desire, I will also write to every party I have previously contacted on the subject and make them aware of your denial.

Could you kindly respond via my email address:

Yours sincerely

Alfred Donovan

cc Malcolm Brinded Group MD Royal Dutch Shell Group

    Jeroen van der Veer, Group Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell Group

    Richard Wiseman, General Counsel Shell International Limited

    Chip Cummins, Oil & Gasoline Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

    Georgina Davies, BBC TV 



Mr Christopher James


Hakluyt & Company Limited

34 Upper Brook Street



2 PAGES BY FAX ONLY TO: 01144(0)207 491 1844

Dear Mr James


I received an email today from The Church of England. It was from one of their solicitors. My fax to Hakluyt was received by a fax machine at The Church of England offices in London. As it was apparently beyond the scope of his imagination to conceive that there could possibly be a connection between The Church of England and Hakluyt/MI6, he reasonably concluded that the fax must have been received in error.

He obviously thought the content was important enough to contact me.

After speaking to your firm early today I sent the following self-explanatory reply email to the relevant solicitor: –

Dear Sir

Thanks for taking the trouble to let me know the situation. It was predictable that things would not be entirely straightforward given the nature of Hakluyt. However I did not anticipate receiving a response from a Church of England solicitor.

I have now spoken to Hakluyt. They did receive my faxed letter okay and apparently decided to seek advice from their legal advisor at your offices, but apparently the fax never reached him. They are now telephoning the unidentified legal advisor (one of your colleagues) to give him your name so that he can collect the fax from you.  You will know if he is the genuine intended recipient if he sports an eye patch, walks with a limp and is obsessed with Dr Evil. 



Mr Christopher James


Hakluyt & Company Limited

34 Upper Brook Street



ONE PAGE BY FAX ONLY TO: 01144(0)207 491 1844

Dear Mr James


I have heard today from the Intelligence and Security Committee made up of a cross-party membership of UK Members of Parliament appointed by the Prime Minister. As you will be aware, under the provisions of the Intelligence Services Act of 1994, the Committee has parliamentary oversight responsibility for the Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ, and the Security Service.

The Clerk to the Intelligence and Security Committee, Mr Alistair Corbett, has contacted me on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, the Right Honourable Ann Taylor MP regarding the concerns I have expressed about Hakluyt. A copy of the email she received is posted on the website I am advised by Mr Corbett that the Chairman will be raising this matter with the other Committee members.

Consequently if you intend to answer the questions raised in my recent letter I would respectfully recommend that you do so as a matter of urgency so that your response could be given to the Committee. In fact I will be supplying the Committee with further information on Monday and would be happy to include any such response. Of course you are free to contact them direct at 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS.

I am willing to provide you with my home telephone number on a confidential basis providing that Hakluyt undertakes not to supply the number to your client, Shell/Royal Dutch Shell Group.

Yours sincerely

Alfred Donovan


CC Richard Wiseman, Shell Legal Director

    Malcolm Brinded Group MD Royal Dutch Shell Group

    Jeroen van der Veer, Group Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell Group

    Chip Cummins, Oil & Gasoline Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

    Georgina Davies, BBC TV 




34 Upper Brook Street

London W1E 7QS

Telephone: +44(0)207 491 7091

Dear Mr Donovan

It is not the practice of my company to comment on its activities on behalf of its clients nor, indeed, on whether it has acted on behalf of a particular client.

I am therefore, not prepared to comment on the allegations and questions in your letter, except that I can say that, so far as I am aware, none of Hakluyt’s work has related in anyway to you, your family or your former business.

Yours sincerely

Christopher James



Mr Christopher James                               


Hakluyt & Company Limited

34 Upper Brook Street



2 PAGES BY FAX ONLY TO: 0207 491 1844

Dear Mr James

Thank you for your faxed letter received at 10.30 am this morning. It is clear from press reports that you are a highly secretive organisation, so the fact that we have been in direct communication by telephone, email and letter is significant. It suggests that you are concerned.   

Even if you are not prepared to confirm that Shell has been a client, they have already admitted that this is the case. Of course we also have the period of several years with common directors and shareholders, one of whom was Chairman of your company, and the other, President of the Hakluyt Foundation. I understand that the Foundation is supposed to fulfil an oversight function equivalent to the role of the Intelligence and Security Committee over the official UK security services, including your former employer, the Secret Intelligence Service.  

I note your assurance that none of Hakluyt’s “work” has related to me, my family, or our former business. Your assurance would of course have carried far greater weight if you had not included the significant qualification, “so far as I am aware”. Since you are a founder of Hakluyt, is it possible that Hakluyt could have been involved in our case without your knowledge? That is the implication of your disclaimer, which bears all the legal hallmarks of a Whitehall Mandarin/lawyer.

It was of course an interesting situation with the Church of England Legal Office. Apparently no one wanted to admit a connection with your fax, which had no intended recipient printed on it. Hence it remained abandoned in the hands of Mr Webster for a number of days until I deduced that it was almost certainly meant for your Hakluyt co-director, Sir Anthony Hammond KCB QC. If he was not the intended recipient it would mean a second Church of England lawyer has a connection with Hakluyt.

Logic and commonsense, as set out in my email to Mr Kendall Freeman dated 20 May 04 (posted on, suggests that Shell would have likely used what was close to being an in-house resource, Hakluyt. But as I pointed out, it could have used another similar spy firm (or even more than one spy firm).

It is also conceivable that Royal Dutch Petroleum issued a brief separately from Shell Transport/Shell UK. I was in correspondence with the President of Royal Dutch Petroleum, Mr Maarten van den Bergh, at about that time. This would explain why Shell UK legal director, Mr Richard Wiseman has no knowledge of the activities of Mr ****** *****, the American “spook” from ***** whose energetic and sinister activities were also mentioned in the above email to Kendall Freeman.  

What I do know is that Richard Wiseman (and Kendall Freeman) has admitted in writing that the undercover agent who was caught red-handed at our offices, engaged in illegal activity (Mr Christopher Phillips) was working for Shell. He presented fake documents which falsely indicated that he was a “director” of a company, Cofton Consultants, which turned out to be non-existent. Shell also admitted that other agents were involved on our case, but despite the seriousness of the crimes which took place, would not disclose the scope or nature of the brief which had been issued.

Since all of this and other undercover activity had a devastating impact on our preparation for a High Court Trial, it is a serious matter, which is why I have written to Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor. 

We were already fighting an unequal battle pitted against a malicious multinational giant with an army of lawyers and unlimited shareholder resources. It was therefore ruthless of Shell to make a mismatched contest even more uneven by resorting to underhand “activities” (the term you use in your letter which, incidentally, was precisely the same term used by Shell and Kendall Freeman in relation to their undercover agents). 

Shell management pledges “transparency” in its Statement of General Business Principles. In view of your connection with its senior management, perhaps you could ask them to at long last come clean on this matter, as they have with the reserves scandal. It would allow Shell to put these shameful matters to rest so that it could start the battle to restore its reputation. In so doing, if you are innocent of any involvement it would leave Hakluyt and its galaxy of the establishment elite in the clear.

Since it is frustrating to be met with an almost universal wall of silence when justice and fair play are at stake, I am grateful that you have at least responded, even though your carefully constructed assurance, as it stands, is ambiguous and therefore unsatisfactory. In common parlance, it leaves Hakluyt with wiggle room. If Hakluyt had NO association with ANY of these matters, why not say so.

I will publish this correspondence so that interested parties can draw their own conclusions.

Yours sincerely 

Alfred Donovan


It is interesting to note that other parties involved in disputes/litigation with Shell have expressed concern about alleged spying/surveillance operations against them e.g. Mr John Dyer and Dr John Huong.  





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