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Shell Chairman named in $1.3 billion OPL 245 fraud










By John Donovan

I warned Shell for over a decade that Malcolm Brinded (above) has no scruples. Indeed, in 2009, I published an article under the headline: Royal Dutch Shell Fat Cat Malcolm Brinded: Big Brain but no scruples.

Brinded was an executive director of Royal Dutch Shell Plc until 2012 and is still Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Shell Foundation.

It is, therefore, interesting, to say the least, that he is named in an Italian prosecutor’s report as one of the senior Shell executives involved in the $1.3 billion OPL 245 deal, said to be a massive scam.

Brinded coordinated with his Eni counterpart, Claudio Descalzi on the $1.3 billion price agreed for the deal. Descalzi was a key player in what went on.

According to the indictment, Descalzi liaised with key Eni employees in Nigeria, Roberto Casula and Vincenzo Armanna. They helped to coordinate a deal in which the then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and other senior government officials would receive illegal commissions as their reward for approving the OPL 245 Malabu oil deal.

Numerous Shell executives are said to be named in the indictment, including Malcolm Brinded.

My damning conclusion about Mr Brinded came from his roles as a senior Shell executive in other Shell scandals.


In 1999, I personally notified Brinded about a rigged Shell tender process for a £1 million contract. I supplied full documentary evidence of a carefully planned conspiracy by a Shell executive and his colleagues. The contract was miraculously awarded to an agency that had not even run in the contract race. The Shell executive had a special relationship with the winner who never participated in the tender. More details here. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Brinded gave his full backing to the Shell executive in question.


Brinded almost lost his job as a result of the Shell reserves fraud revealed to a shocked world in January 2004. He was accused in lawsuits lodged in US courts of issuing ‘false and misleading’ statements. Shell settled the class action lawsuits.


We contacted Mr Brinded in 2004 complaining about undercover activity directed against us by Shell. There was no response to our letter. This despite the fact that a Shell legal director had admitted (in writing) the first bout of undercover activity.


Unfortunately, Mr Brinded has blood on his hands as a result of his involvement in the Shell Brent Bravo tragedy which cost the lives of Shell employees. He was issued with a related letter of censure by Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer. For more information see:

Brent Bravo Unlawful Deaths Scandal Returns To Haunt Royal Dutch Shell

Whistleblower accuses Shell Executive Director, Malcolm Brinded

Given his dubious track record, it is no surprise to me, from my perspective, that the actions of Malcolm Brinded are once again the subject of scrutiny.

I am surprised that he is still a Shell Chairman and that Shell still has the audacity to pretend that it operates at all times within its claimed business principles. If it did, none of the above would have happened.

Furthermore, Shell would not be drowning in a Nigerian toxic swamp of oil spills, corruption, and litigation, current and pending.

In the latter regard, I was pleased to assist Leigh Day with evidence and access to Shell insider sources/whistleblowers.


Bill Campbell

on Dec 15th, 2016 at 20:29

The men who saved Shell

Michiel Brandjes was indeed a loyal and obedient servant both to RDS and to its non executive Chairman Jorma Ollila acting as his legal counsel. In 2005, the team investigating Malcolm Brinded reported back to the then CEO van der Veer and Beat Hess. Hess at that time was the top legal bod in RDS. Hess summarised the position on Brinded by his opinion that Brinded contributed to the shortcomings in 1999, shortcomings in his words that contributed significantly to the deaths offshore in 2003 on Brent Bravo.

Despite this Ollila and Brandjes compromised their position and stuck to the accepted script to publicly deny Brinded’s culpability despite Hess’s opinion being openly known about at Board level and beyond. It was really this decision by Brandjes and his Chairman to protect Brinded, rather than out him, that saved RDS from another reputational melt down so close behind the reserves crisis. Within the Board structure Brandjes was the custodian of business ethics, principles and compliance, it was his bread and butter, he was the policeman and the whistleblower for the Company who could, supported by the Chairman, have red carded dear Malcolm.

Brandjes cannot look back on this period with satisfaction, my gut

feeling was that he did what he felt he needed to do, but it stripped him and Ollila of any semblance of integrity. A lie to protect RDS from crisis is still a lie. This matter after all was not just about numbers and debate on how these numbers be calculated, but to the deaths of two men who died needlessly due to management neglect highlighted and known about in 1999, but not acted upon.

Bill Campbell

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

One Comment

  1. Bill Campbell says:

    The latest blog on this website asks if there is any evidence that Brinded benefited personally from his role in the alleged fraudulent deal?
    This we assume will come out in the wash if this affair ever gets to trial. He certainly would have indirectly benefitted if the 240 odd oil blocs increased the reserves significantly because this would have been one of his principal goals as Upstream Director now doubt contributing to bonus rewards etc.

    But whether he benifited personally or not is not the key issue at this stage but rather whether he was aware that the monies paid over by Eni and Shell were being directed, all or in part, to the private bank accounts of corrupt officials, and if so he, if this can be established by legal process, would be an accessory to such corruption.


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