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Despite all that happened, Shell did not disclose to the Police, or to me, its close association with Hakluyt. An organisation skilled in the intelligence gathering tactics that had been directed against us, which were, as indicated, used against other parties also perceived to be enemies of Shell.

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.)

The extract below should be read in the context of the fact that we were besieged by undercover activity during the run-up to the SMART High Court Trial – the climax of our litigation alleging that Shell had stolen Intellectual Property from our company Don Marketing. Shell brought a Counterclaim amid a barrage of aggressive threats and sinister activity directed against us. Shell did not disclose its close connection with a private spy firm Hakluyt & Company.

Extracts below from pages 106 & 107


Hakluyt is a corporate intelligence company based in London founded by former senior officers of the British Secret Service, in close association with titled Shell directors.

As mentioned earlier, I had no idea when the cloak and dagger activity was in progress that Shell directors were at that time, also the spymasters, directors and major shareholders in Hakluyt.

Sir Peter Holmes was President of the Hakluyt Foundation, which supposedly had an oversight function on the spying operations while Sir William Purves was Chairman of Hakluyt & Company Ltd.

In view of their personal involvement with Hakluyt , these two Knights of the realm were no doubt amused by our vocal public complaints about the spying relating to our litigation against Shell.

A Hakluyt director is on record as stating that it is their normal modus operandi to bring in operatives from overseas to engage in spying/intelligence gathering activities. The undercover agents then conveniently leave the legal jurisdiction in which such activities have taken place.

Hakluyt sometimes uses serving secret service agents who carry out assignments on a freelance basis.

Hakluyt also uses investigative journalists for intelligence gathering activities – a perfect cover. See this article from July 2008 about Hakluyt recruiting journalists as spies.

The following are extracts from an article about Hakluyt published by the FT on 23 March 2000 under the headline: “Masters of the great game turn to business

“The company has over 100 “associates” on its books – some based in London, others at stations worldwide, formed by personal contacts, whose judgement the directors trust absolutely. They might be investigative journalists…”

“When Hakluyt receives an assignment, it calls up to five associates back to London to be briefed and then “deploys” them.”

According to the aforementioned Lubbers book (page 142): “Each associate is given different questions and works independently”.

Extracts from an article about Hakluyt published by The Scotsman on 20 January 2003 under the headline: Intelligence firm with an air of mystery are also illuminating:


At its centre lies a British-based private intelligence firm, with close links to MI6 – and distaste for any sort of publicity.

Last year MPs called on Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, to investigate the company following newspaper revelations that Hakluyt spied on green pressure groups in order to pass information about them to oil production companies Shell and BP.

It emerged that Hakluyt had employed a German spy, who posed as a left-wing sympathiser and film-maker, in order to betray plans by Greenpeace against oil companies.

The affair left MPs questioning whether secret intelligence services used the firm as a front to spy on green groups.

Hakluyt has denied claims by some in the intelligence community that it was started by MI6 officers to carry out “deniable” operations.

Extracts end

Remember, I knew nothing about Hakluyt during the period when the litigation was in progress – the period when the sinister events took place.

It is relevant to note that two years later, The Sunday Times ran a front page lead story about Shell/Hakluyt espionage operations conducted on an international basis against Shell’s perceived enemies, including Greenpeace, The Body Shop and Nigerian activists. See “SHELL CONNECTION WITH HAKLUYT & COMPANY LIMITED.” Also, a link to a PDF version of Sunday Times front page article on 17 June 2001 exposing these activities.

Sir Peter Holmes and Sir William Purves were both listed as being in attendance at the Shell AGM in 1995. They heard a public exchange between my father and Sir John Jennings during the Q&A session.

Despite all that happened, Shell did not disclose to the Police, or to me, its close association with Hakluyt. An organisation skilled in the intelligence gathering tactics that had been directed against us, which were, as indicated, used against other parties also perceived to be enemies of Shell.

On page 146 of the Eveline Lubbers book, several examples are provided of Hakluyt making denials that proved to be completely false. Hakluyt only made admittances when confronted with irrefutable evidence of their involvement. In all other circumstances, it seems they are happy to lie. Lubbers also confirmed that Shell is still a client of Hakluyt.

The bizarre circumstances of our dealings with the then Hakluyt Managing Director (a former senior MI6 officer,) and the letter we received from him, carefully crafted by a titled lawyer, Sir Anthony Hammond KCB QC – only added to the intrigue. More on this later.

Extracts from the John Donovan ebook end.

EXTRACTS FROM THE ARTICLE: “Britain is concerned about Australia’s links to Hakluyt security firm created by former MI6 agents” 18 Jan 2016

Created by former MI6 British Secret Service agents, Hakluyt is an ultra secretive firm whose client list reads like a who’s who of the business world with corporations retaining their services for strategic intelligence and advice as they look to expand operations.

The group boasts it doesn’t offer “off the shelf” advice but rather uses a network of key operatives across the globe to instruct on a country, government, industry or company’s outlook and exploitable strengths and weaknesses.

Australian High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer had been on the advisory board of the London-headquartered firm since 2008 when he was a UN special envoy but was forced to give up the position when he was appointed to head the Australian diplomatic post in London in 2014.

But it can be revealed Mr Downer has still been attending client conferences and gatherings of the group, including a client cocktail soiree at the Orangery at Kensington Palace a few months ago.

His attendance at that event is understood to have come days after he also attended a two-day country retreat at the invitation of the group which has been involved in a number of corporate spy scandals in recent times.

Hakluyt was caught out in 2001 funding a former German spy to infiltrate environmental groups in Europe allegedly on behalf of oil company clients and preparing analyses for an Australian mining group.

Most recently in 2012 it hit the headlines when one of its part-time investigators was murdered in a Chinese hotel room under mysterious circumstances involving a high-level Communist Party figure and claims of espionage.


THE SHELL SMART TRIAL In 1999: 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. By co-incidence or otherwise the judge resigned in controversial circumstances soon after we lodged a formal complaint about his outlandish conduct during the trial and his undeclared connection with a member of the Moody-Stuart family, the barrister Tom Moody-Stuart. His mother, Lady Judy Moody-Stuart, had also become personally involved. Her well-meaning intervention was brought to the attention of the judge by my late father Alfred Donovan.


John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Genesis

John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Süddeutsche Zeitung article

GERMAN TV: John Donovan’s revelations cost Shell billions


How Shell lost its majority stake in Sakhalin II

John Donovan, Group Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC companies

Donovan family relationship with Shell

Long association with the Royal Dutch Shell

Since the 1990s, Shell has been at war with John Donovan

An unscrupulous Shell executive


Secret Shell Writ Losses

Shell caught red-handed in Make Money deception

Donovan Defamation Actions Against Shell

Shell in legal row over Smart Card

Defamatory Posters on Display at Shell HQ


399 Former Shell Malaysia Employees Sued Shell for Misappropriation of Retirement Funds

Don Marketing posts legal warning about Shell

Bombarded by threats from Shell



Shell corporate espionage

Shell Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark

Besieged by undercover activity during run-up to Shell SMART High Court Trial

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and his family personally involved in Donovan litigation

Shell’s use of undercover agents

Shell Cloak and Dagger activities

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

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