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Corrib Gas Project Engulfed in Corruption Allegations

The latest allegation is that the local Irish Police involved in the Corrib Gas Project were supplied with alcohol by Shell EP Ireland.

By John Donovan

Printed below is a self-explanatory email I sent on 11 November 2012 to Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

I sent him further information earlier today including a related email sent to RDS Plc Chief Executive Mr Peter Voser.

I also made reference to the copy of a letter from a solicitor that has been supplied to me.

The solicitor acts for clients in County Mayo concerned by any implication that they have been involved in any corrupt activity allegedly sponsored by Shell.


From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 11 November 2012 15:01:19 GMT
To: [email protected]

Dear Mr Brandjes

I have forwarded to you separately an email I received today, dated 9 November 2012, purportedly sent to Mr Mike Crothers, the Chief Executive of Shell EP Ireland and copied to your colleague Mr Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and to the Irish Police, the Garda.

The email was sent by OSSL, an Irish supplier to the Corrib Gas Project. The company has previously accused Shell of instructing them to make corrupt payments/gifts to third parties on behalf of Shell.

They claim that to achieve this objective, invoices were falsified on the express instruction of Shell EP Ireland.

OSSL further allege that threats of dire consequences have been made against them by Shell. The company notified you of this by email on 11 October 2012.

The latest allegation is that the local Irish Police involved in the Corrib Gas Project were supplied with alcohol by Shell EP Ireland. It says that there is proof of this in an invoice supplied to Shell.

I can understand why there has been a delay in calling in the police because the local population seems to have little faith in the impartiality of the Garda. Many believe, rightly or wrongly, that the local police are in the pockets of Shell.

This perhaps explains why Shell whistle blowers on the Corrib project – the so called Celtic Tiger Five – did not step forward to give evidence to the Garda after alleging they had received death threats from Shell. As you may recall, we published a considerable number of Shell internal emails leaked to us containing confidential information highly embarrassing to Shell.

If any of the claimed emails are fake, then we will not publish anything further received from OSSL. I do, however ,believe they are genuine.

Please let me know by 4pm Monday 12 November. We will also publish unedited any related comment Shell wishes to make.

No problem if you need more time to investigate and respond.

Just let me know by 4pm that you will be looking into the matter before replying.

Best Regards
John Donovan

Although Mr Brandjes replied to a subsequent email from me on another matter, he has not taken up my invitation as set out above, neither has he taken issue with the authenticity of the relevant emails.

The following is the content of an email sent by OSSL on 11 November 2012 to the solicitor referred to above.


Thank you for your letter

It appears to us that you have misread the situation .

OSSL was instructed by SHELL to pay for goods and services supplied or carried out by third party companies locally in Erris .

We informed your clients and others in the Bellanaboy area the Rossport area and Glengad that in an accounting instruction from Shell we were told to transfer the invoices in a disguised manner to a company called Roadbridge stating that Shell management were getting very worried that they would be seen to be favouring some landowners over others which we have been informed by Shell would contradict all other agreements with landowners who were not in receipt of “special favours “.

Your clients and fifteen others fall into the special favours category ,OSSL simply informed them that SHELL had not reimbursed OSSL in full for the money which it had paid out to third parties on your clients and Shells joint venture.

This money has not been fully reimbursed.

When we entered a long campaign of action to get our money back we were asked by Shell in Holland to travel to London to meet with Frances van Dam of their business and ethics department BID we were also asked to remain silent about the matter.

Some time later we were informed by van Dam that in fact none of what we had disclosed to her was factual , and that no Special Favours or home improvements or cash payments had ever been carried out or supplied to your clients and others stating that “any such works or favours would be corrupt and illegal and would jeopardise the whole project ”

Not even your clients would claim that this never happened , would they?

Apart from the missing money still outstanding we have been informed by Michael Crothers that we were dismissed from the project because of our compliance with your clients requests to Shell for work to be carried out and goods supplied which they subsequently wanted to distance themselves from.

In case you or your clients don’t understand what we are saying be clear that three decent people lost their lively hood over this matter .

Crothers held his head in shame when the facts were laid out to him and he is clear about what went on.


Shell does have a track record of involvement in corruption scandals – see examples at the foot of this article – but that obviously does not mean it is automatically guilty of the allegations on this occasion. 

I have no idea why Shell has decided against commenting.


Executive Intelligence Review: Scandal of the Century Rocks British Crown and the City: June 22, 2007

Comment in House of Commons by Vince Camble MP, former Chief Economist of Shell (Debate on the Al-Yamamah BAE Fraud/Corruption controversy and associated money laundering) 7 Feb 2007

(2): Memorandum submitted by WWF to inquiry by House of Commons Select Committee: Quotes Sakhalin II corruption allegations from article: 20 June 2008

Shell in U.S. Gov. Sex, Drugs and Corruption Scandal: 24 January 2009

Shell to pay $48m Nigerian bribe fine: Daily Telegraph 4 November 2010


These companies, including Shell, admitted they “approved of or condoned the payment of bribes on their behalf in Nigeria and falsely recorded the bribe payments made on their behalf as legitimate business expenses in their corporate books, records and accounts”.

SHELL IN BRIBERY FINE: Daily Express 6 November 2010

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