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AFX News: Shell settles European, non-US claims over oil reserves scandal

LONDON (Thomson Financial) – Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it has agreed to pay at least 353 mln usd to settle the claims lodged by European and other investors outside the US relating to the shock oil reserves downgrade in 2004.

The Anglo-Dutch oil group said it is entering into the agreement ‘without admitting any wrongdoing.’

It signed the arrangement with certain institutional investors led by Dutch pension funds ABP and PGGM, the Shell Reserves Compensation Foundation, and the Vereniging van Effectenbezitters (VEB), which represents individual Dutch investors.

As part of this settlement, Shell said it will ask the US Securities and Exchange Commission to distribute to shareholders the 120 mln usd it paid in 2004 to resolve the regulator’s investigation into its overstated reserves.

Shell will pay the claims once the Amsterdam Court of Appeals declares the settlement binding for all of the shareholders it covers.

‘Shell intends to offer the same proportional settlement to investors in the US, provided the US court overseeing the case approves,’ the company said.

Investors sued Shell after it admitted in 2004 that it inflated its oil and gas reserves by over a fifth.

The reserves crisis led to the departure of key executives led by chairman Philip Watts and the historic union of Shell Transport & Trading Co PLC and Royal Dutch Petroleum NV to create what is now known as Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

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