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Hakluyt, Enron, and Shell

By John Donovan

Information herein is sourced from Wikipedia articles relating to:

(1) Hakluyt – the British private intelligence agency, “…staffed almost entirely by ex-intelligence [services] staff”, according to a 2006 report in The Times[1]

(2) Shell, the oil giant notorious for a massive securities fraud when it swindled its shareholders. The company is closely associated with Hakluyt.

(3) Enron, a corrupt energy company based in Houston, Texas that went bankrupt as a result of committing institutionalized, systematic and well-planned accounting fraud.

In May 2001, Christopher James of Hakluyt wrote to Enron‘s Jeff Skilling following up on introductory letter from Phillip J Carroll, the then President of Shell Oil.

“Following Phil Carroll‘s letter to you of April 16 I would be delighted to call on you to tell you more about Hakluyt. While we have already done some work for Enron (Scott Tholan), virtually all our work for our clients is at a strategic level where our coverage of issues is of greatest value. With your challenging international objectives I am confident we could be of value to you. If you would find it useful to meet I will contact your office to arrange a suitable time.”[4]

In an apparent follow-up email in August of that year, James expanded on what Hakluyt could offer:

“Your office has asked me to outline Hakluyt’s services. Rather than fall back on the usual corporate information that we have sent to your people previously, I would say simply this; Hakluyt is what you make of it – it places an unparalleled private intelligence network at the personal disposal of senior commercial figures.”
“The range of deployments we have completed for core clients is wide. In all cases we guarantee complete confidentiality. And, although we work for divisional directors on tactical issues, we have found our most rewarding work in personal dealings with CEOs who wish – for whatever reason – to have a confidential agency at their own disposal. It was this, which prompted Phil Carroll to write to you about us in April as he has found our work of considerable value to him personally. We look at people and the issues, which often drive them to make the decisions or act as they do. All our work is unattributable… We also have an association with Kissinger/McLarty Associates for although our work is very different the services we both provide can be complementary. Our US client base is increasing well but at the same time we wish to remain small and discreet.”[5]

Recommended by Shell CEO?

James’s assertion that Phil Carroll wrote to Enron’s Skilling in April 2001 about Hakluyt appears likely to be a reference to a former Shell CEO. In January 2006, Carroll was quoted by the Houston Chronicle as a friend of disgraced Enron CEO Ken Lay:

“Despite the burdens of his high-profile indictment, Lay hasn’t lost his warm demeanor, according to his friends. ‘Ken is always extremely pleasant,’ said Phil Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil Co. who served as the Bush administration’s first energy czar in Iraq.”
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