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Shell China Corruption Whistleblower, Robin Yu

Shell China Whistleblower, Robin Yu

By John Donovan

Today, published a denial by Shell in relation to its involvement in the Nigerian OPL 245 corruption scandal.

Extract: “Shell attaches the greatest importance to business integrity. It’s one of our core values and is a central tenet of the business principles that govern the way we do business. “We have clear anti-bribery and corruption policies and a code of conduct. All employees around the world are expected to uphold these principles and comply with our policies and code – failure to do so will result in consequences up to and including dismissal.”

After more than two decades of access to evidence that proves to the contrary, I can only describe the above claim as absolute hogwash.

Ask Robin Yu, who, until recently, worked for Shell China as a North China lubricants B2B member (ICAM) Downstream. Robin made the mistake of blowing the whistle internally on alleged corruption, bullying and harassment by his Shell boss, Haijun Zhang.

He alleges that Zhang Haijun (Zhang, Hai Jun SCHINA-DIH/338 [email protected]) ingratiated himself with the senior-level Shell staff by giving them presents and pushed his subordinates into violation of reimbursement rules and consequently, violation of the SGBP. Robin claims that he was bullied into buying such “gifts” by Zhang Haijun.

Unhappy with the response of local management to his concerns, Robin contacted senior Royal Dutch Shell executives, including Ben van Beurden and Simon Henry. He had requested a transparent and impartial investigation.

Extract from his email: This is a note from an employee of Shell (China) Limited. I am writing to you because I am in a severe status of mental and physical hurting which is the result of abusement I am suffering from Shell China. The company has verified through investigation that the information I reported to SGBP is correct. But now, only I was punished by “written warning”, PPIP, forced transfer and forced dismissal. What does Shell’s Chinese management try to cover up? Why don’t you give me a fair result? Why do you want me to get out of the company?

Robin Yu was fired.

It has dawned on Robin, like many other once proud, but now disillusioned Shell employees before him, that Shell senior management pledges and claims enshrined in the SGBP are worthless. He may be further surprised to know that according to a Shell Legal Director, the SGBP have no legal standing.

Instead of upholding the ethical code including the core principle of transparency, Shell decided on a cover-up and the dismissal of the whistleblower.

Selection of comments by Robin

I was sacked last month because I exposed a shameful case of SGBP breach in China. China management chose to turn a blind eye to the disgraceful occurrence and do their best to cover up the facts. How can you imagine you will have a decent career development when your supervisor and even management team give up integrity ,honesty and courage to correct the wrongdoings. Since I joined Shell years ago, I have noticed that SGBP is the cornerstone of Shell globally. No one  and no where will be the exception to touch the red line. But now, SGBP is merely a wording of political rightness in China. I even think Shell China management take it as a joke themselves.

Seven months ago, I disclosed a case of violation of SGBP to Shell management here in China. My former supervisor Haijun Zhang pushed me to buy some ginseng as ‘gifts’ for the colleagues attending customer visit in my territory. I had to follow his order given that he was my boss… 

My former supervisor is still there and nobody seems affected except me. What I won is a warning letter issued by James Shen, accusing me of violating Shell expense policy. I am shocked and my years knowledge about Shell is overturned. “Integrity, Honesty, Respect for others and SGBP”, SGBP is a joke at all, Shell had to cover up the truth by dismissing me. What a shame for Shell China!

Some related correspondence:

Letter of Accusation (About Shell China) – Violation of SGBP

Robins contact email address: [email protected]

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


  1. bob says:

    In shell, too many dirty managers like robin mentioned in the statement, too many leaders play casino gambling games with the contractors. i will reveal some undergroundbusiness in future.

  2. TotallyHackedOff says:

    Robin- sorry to hear of your dealings with Shell. I too had considered reporting an issue to the ‘tell shell’ line but was put off by outsiders who had said that whistleblowing never ends well for the whistleblower. And I guess their advice was right. However it made no difference to me as I lost my job anyway and now with hindsight I wished I’d had reported it just so as to get the bloody bean counters and Human Remains department to do some work for a change. Anyway, if they treated you like that, your better off out of Shell. You sound like you are more upstanding then them and actually have principles. Dust yourself off and get back on that wagon. Forget about for Shell although I am sure it feels pretty raw right now. Time will make it better.

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