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Shell corporate espionage

Extract from the ebook “John Donovan, Shell’s Nightmare” (now available on Amazon websites globally)

(BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT SHELL’S EPIC 25 YEAR FEUD WITH JOHN DONOVAN – which puts the extracts below in overall context.)

Our case against Shell, including witnesses and evidence, was the subject of undercover activity. Witnesses were interviewed by an undercover agent posing as a journalist. The same person also gained access to our evidence under false pretences. Evidence was scrutinized and tampered with during a series of what the police unofficially concluded were targeted burglaries.

Extract below from pages 95, 96 & 97

Shell corporate espionage in the run-up to the Smart trial

Titled Shell directors, the late Sir Peter Holmes, and Sir William Purves were also directors, major shareholders and the spymasters of Hakluyt & Company, a UK corporate espionage firm founded by former senior MI6 officers. Shell used Hakluyt to engage in cloak and dagger operations against its perceived enemies, including Greenpeace, as exposed in a Sunday Times front page lead article.

When Shell first instigated a cloak and dagger operation against us, we had no knowledge of the oil giants long time involvement in the dark arts.

I first mentioned the subject of investigative activity in a letter dated 15 June 1998 that I sent to Dr Chris Fay, the then Chairman & Chief Executive of Shell UK Limited. It was also copied to Shell lawyers.

From paragraph 4 of page 3:

“Shell did retain an investigative specialist in connection with the previous litigation. They made investigations about me going back over a decade.”

Since the previous litigation commenced in 1994, it means that the investigative activity instigated by Shell kicked off over two decades ago. 

It became more visible in 1998 in the run up to the then pending Shell Smart High Court trial. Our case against Shell, including witnesses and evidence, was the subject of undercover activity. Witnesses were interviewed by an undercover agent posing as a journalist. The same person also gained access to our evidence under false pretences.

Evidence was scrutinized and tampered with during a series of what the police unofficially concluded were targeted burglaries.

Such clandestine activity was totally at odds with the pledges of honesty, integrity and openness in all of Shell’s dealings set out in Shell’s much trumpeted General Business Principles.

I reminded Shell directors many times about the failure to uphold the claimed principles. I did so for example in a letter I circulated to all directors of Shell Transport and Trading Company Plc at their home addresses e.g. this letter to Sir Peter Holmes MC dated 23 April 1998.

It was sent just days after serving a breach of confidence writ on Shell in respect of the Shell Smart Loyalty card scheme.

The letter contained a reference to an article by Rachel Oldroyd published on 19 April 1998 in The Financial Mail on Sunday newspaper: “Shell card in legal row.”

I also supplied the multipage feature that had just been published in Marketing Week magazine – “High Court Papers unveil ‘secret’ Shell writ losses”.

Sir Peter (now deceased) was a former Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group and had remained as a non-executive director. I had no idea at the time that he, and a fellow titled director of Shell Transport and Trading Company plc (Sir William Purves), were also the spymasters, directors and major shareholders in Hakluyt, a London-based corporate espionage firm set up partly by Shell and BP and staffed mainly by former MI6 officers.

Related information is confirmed on pages 111, 142 and 157 of a book about corporate espionage authored by Eveline Lubbers and published in 2012:

“Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark”

In 1995, Shell International was one of Hakluyt’s first clients (page 143 of the Lubbers book).

According to information on pages 9, 144 and 145, the information gathered by the cloak and dagger activity was used to develop corporate counterstrategy, including bringing a counterclaim lawsuit.

As is stated on page 9: “– a corporation does not spy on its critics just to know what is going on: it does so to be prepared and to defend itself.”

This is exactly what happened in our case. After gathering evidence Shell brought counterclaims in June 1998 against Don Marketing UK Limited, my father, and against me.

I will return to the subject of Hakluyt later.

Extract from the John Donovan ebook end.

RELATED

While the dramatic cross-examination of Shell executive AJL was in progress and reaching a climax, Shell suddenly settled the high court litigation brought by John Donovan in relation to SHELL SMART and related libel actions. Shell paid all legal costs said to be over £1 million pounds and John Donovan received a secret payment as part of the settlement, the full terms of which were deliberately withheld by Shell from the Judge, the late Mr Justice Laddie. The judge made comments at the end of the trial unaware of the full terms of settlement, a fact later confirmed to John Donovan in writing by Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman, now retired. The comments made by the judge later triggered a repudiation of the settlement by Shell.

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John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Genesis

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royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

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