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I have evidence that Royal Dutch Shell had direct business dealings with the now disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai at the heart of the scandal.

By John Donovan

Printed below is a self-explanatory email I sent earlier today to Mr. Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Since there has been no response, I have published the email at 3pm UK time. 

I would like readers to be aware that Shell has on many previous occasions taken up our invitation to provide a comment to be published with an article.

Furthermore, we have previously agreed not to publish an article at the request of Mr Brandjes.


From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Subject: Bo Xilai and Royal Dutch Shell
Date: 11 May 2012 00:22:14 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]


Dear Mr Brandjes

I have sent previous emails to you on the subject of the most extraordinary scandal ever to emerge in China.

I now have evidence that Royal Dutch Shell had direct business dealings with the now disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai at the heart of the scandal.

The following extract from an article published yesterday by the Guardian provides some idea of the dimensions of the scandal.

The accusations stack up by the day. Leaks and rumours describe how disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai imprisoned opponents, seized assets and even tapped the phone calls of top politicians. Increasingly baroque accounts are emerging of his wife Gu Kailai’s alleged murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, and of illicit financial dealings. Results of the official inquiries could be announced any time: Bo is under investigation for violations of party discipline, while Gu is detained by judicial authorities.

The article goes on to say that Bo could potentially face a death sentence for corruption.

The stakes are also high for any company implicated in corrupt dealings with Bo.

I have found evidence that acting in his then capacity as Chinese Commerce Minister, Bo Xilai concluded a deal in May 2004 directly with Royal Dutch Shell in a meeting in London. This was in respect of petrol stations in Jiangsu Province.

I also have written confirmation from a reliable intelligence source that Shell is a regular client of Hakluyt & Co, the spy firm that employed Neil Heywood from time to time.

I am therefore able to expand the statement of fact set out in my previous email.

Shell is a regular client of Hakluyt. Neil Heywood was a Hakluyt agent in China. Bo Xilai, the husband of the women allegedly responsible for the murder of Heywood, has had direct business dealings with Royal Dutch Shell. Shell has been active in China with business activities in Chongqing, the city at the heart of the intrigue where Bo was major. Shell has recently concluded an important deal with CNPC, a state owned company reportedly controlled by another member of the leadership faction allegedly mired in this extraordinary scandal.

Kindly let me know if Shell disputes the accuracy of any of these stated facts.

Basically an oil company with a track record of corruption in foreign countries e.g. a $48 million bribery fine has had direct business dealings with the Chinese leader at the heart of the biggest corruption/murder scandal ever seen in China.

Given the potential damage to its future prospects in China, I can well understand why Shell might prefer to remain silent about its direct connection with Bo Xilai (even if  innocent of corrupt dealings) rather than running the risk of being subjected to scrutiny in China at this sensitive and momentous juncture in the history of the country.

I will delay publication of this email until 3pm UK time on Friday 11 May to give you an opportunity to respond if you wish to do so.

If Shell is completely innocent of any impropriety in relation to Bo Xilai and accordingly would prefer us not to publish this article, or comment further on the matter, then you only have to advise us accordingly.

Best Regards

John Donovan



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