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OPL 245 scandal and Shell’s former MI6 spies

By John Donovan

The Observer has published a revealing article today about Shell’s involvement in the OPL 245 Nigerian corruption scandal and its use of hired former MI6 officers in connection with the transaction. 

Reference is made to the raids made by Italian investigators on Shell’s headquarters in The Hague and Eni offices in Italy, which “yielded tens of thousands of documents and emails.”

The Observer article focusses on a $800m financial transaction involved in the $1.3bn overall OPL245 deal. It was negotiated in part by two ex-MI6 officers hired by Shell as “business and investment advisers”. Namely, Guy Colegate and John Copleston.

Italian prosecutors have formally warned four former Shell employees, who allegedly played important roles in securing the shady deal, including Colegate and Copleston. Both are identified in legal documents as having “previously worked for MI6”.

Copleston was supposedly a “strategic investment adviser” at Shell. Attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful. Colegate did not reply to an invitation to comment. 

Extract from The Observer article:

Asked about its intelligence-gathering operations, Shell said: “Like most multinational organisations, Shell takes the duty to protect its people, assets and commercially sensitive information seriously and hires those with the most relevant experience to join its corporate security team, including on occasion former government personnel.”

Extract ends

Authors of The Observer article have been in contact with me in relation to these matters. I am always happy to discuss my knowledge of Shell corporate espionage activities, including the activities of Shell Corporate Affairs Security (CAS), Shell Global Security, and Hakluyt & Company. All populated by former spooks. Activities completely at odds with Shell’s claimed core business principles.

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One Comment

  1. Paddy Briggs says:

    Having worked in Shell at the time that the “Business Principles” were put together and widely promulgated I would ask that this story be seen in their context. They can be viewed here:

    I have no information as to whether the story in “The Observer” is true in its entirity, in part or not at all. But I would stress that one of the vantage points has to be from that of the “Business Principles”. Whenever you publish your values you have at the same time to ensure that your management processes and people adhere to these values. Without that the Principles are just PR flimflam. I hope that this will be born in mind as Shell responds to the allegations.

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