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Allseas Litigation: Top lawyer Mike Stubbs accused of relaying offer of £1m ‘bribe’ to police, say court transcripts

Allseas Litigation: Top lawyer Mike Stubbs accused of relaying offer of £1m ‘bribe’ to police, say court transcripts

By John Donovan

Shell contractor, Allseas, is a key player in a continuing story of mystery and intrigue surrounding criminal court proceedings.

Top lawyer Mike Stubbs acted for Allseas at the time when, according to court transcripts, he allegedly relayed a £1m bribe offer to UK police detectives.

Victims of £73 m fraud

In 2011, Allseas invested £73 million with investors led by a conman claiming to have links to the Vatican and Spanish nobility. More information can be found in articles such as the June 2018 FT story: “The ship tycoon, the con men and a €100m scam”.

During the criminal trial, reputation-damaging  information about Allseas and its billionaire founder Mr Edward Heerema was revealed.

The consequences of the litigation continue to this day. 

Extracts from a Guardian newspaper article published on 24 July 2020 under the headline:

“Top lawyer accused of relaying offer of £1m ‘bribe’ to police, say court transcripts

A lawyer at one of the UK’s most prestigious law firms has been accused of relaying an offer of a £1m “bribe” to police officers as part of a bizarre plot to release €300m (£274m) hidden in a Swiss bank account, according to court transcripts obtained by the Guardian.

Mike Stubbs, a partner at Mishcon de Reya, allegedly told two Metropolitan police detectives that a former SAS sergeant with intelligence contacts had concocted a plan to release what were described as “CIA funds” being held in the Swiss bank for “covert” purposes in Somalia.

According to the transcripts, Stubbs told the detectives the intelligence operative was proposing to pay a portion of the money into a police pension fund. The detectives allegedly “strongly rebuffed” the proposal and told Stubbs “in clear and strongly worded terms” that the offer he was relaying was “interpreted as a bribe”.

Stubbs, 64, is a veteran lawyer at Mishcon de Reya, an elite London firm. When the Guardian contacted him by phone, he denied any knowledge of the plot to release funds from Switzerland. “I’ve never heard of this,” he said. “It’s complete nonsense.”


The Guardian 9 Sept 2020: Regulators investigate elite London law firm Mishcon de Reya

The Times 11 Sept 2020: Top law firm Mishcon de Reya facing three investigations by regulator

After these developments were brought to my attention by a third party, I sent an email to the PR manager of Allseas.

From: john 
Subject: Re: Article for Publication
Date: 12 September 2020 at 13:38:33 BST
To: PR Department <[email protected]>

Dear Mr Hagelstein 

As you can see below, we last corresponded in Sept 2012.
I am contacting this time in relation to the recent Guardian newspaper article headlined:
“Top lawyer accused of relaying offer of £1m ‘bribe’ to police, say court transcripts”
With regards to the alleged bribery offer made by the lawyer Mr Mike Stubbs, was Allseas the client he was representing in his discussions with the relevant police officers? 
Because of my previous articles involving Allseas, people contact me from time to time with information and that is the case in relation to these matters.
I will include in my pending article, on an unedited basis, any comment that you wish to make.
John Donovan 

No response has been received.

I am informed from a reliable source that information exists confirming “Stubbs/MdR were acting for Allseas at that time”. 

These developments reinforce my previously published assessment some time ago about the case:

Many of the ingredients here for a good Bond movie. Subterfuge, intrigue, a huge sum of cash, cops, villains, a mysterious tycoon, courtroom drama, a prominent Nazi, international locations. Wonder who should play Mr Big?

I should have include reference to the Pope, The Vatican, The Queen of England, The US Federal Reserve Bank, and the UN. And now the CIA. All were mentioned in the court papers. 

As a result of gullibility and greed, Mr Heerema got himself involved in some colourful roguish matters, mildly reminiscent of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels crossed with a Peter Sellers farce.

Controversy prone Allseas has sailed into a media storm on a number of occasions, usually involving its unscrupulous client, Shell. 

Corrib Gas Project

Allseas became mired in Shell’s controversial Corrib Gas Project in Ireland. Its pipe-laying vessel Solitaire sailed into a storm of protest when it arrived in Irish waters. Eight protestors using kayakers were arrested. Maura Harrington, a leading member of an environmental protest group – “Shell to Sea” – ended a hunger strike when the damaged ship was withdrawn from Broadhaven Bay. It was claimed that Solitaire had suffered “technical problems“. 

Nord Stream 2

Allseas is a participant with Shell in the controversial Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2 project, which is in jeopardy after sanctions were imposed by the U.S. government. Chilling threats were made in writing to Edward Heerema/Allseas by US Senators. The last sentence in a letter signed by Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson dated December 18, 2019, stated: “It’s time for the Pioneering Spirit and Solitaire to find other waters to sail in.” 

The content of the final paragraph on page 2 was even more chilling.

You face a binary choice: stop NOW, and leave the pipeline unfinished (the express intention of the sanctions legislation, which we authored), or make a foolish attempt to rush to complete the pipeline and risk putting your company out of business forever. 

The poisoning of Putin regime opponents has made it difficult for the German Chancellor Merkel to continue her support for the project.

The worlds biggest ship. Named after a Nazi. 

The decision of Edward Heerema to name the worlds largest ship in homage to his Nazi SS father, Pieter Schelte Heerema, a Waffen SS officer found guilty of war crimes, generated a firestorm of controversy.

Shell hired the ship to decommission Shell Brent field platforms in the North Sea despite being aware of the Nazi name (Pieter Schelte). The decommissioning plan ignited protests.

A double whammy of controversy on environmental and moral grounds, involving Greenpeace, Shell, Allseas, the news media, outraged Jewish organisations, and horrified maritime unions.

Edward Heerema reversed course on the Nazi name after Shell withdrew its previous support.

I led the successful campaign to rename the ship now known as Pioneering Spirit, a ship which has sailed into three major controversies, the Nazi name outrage, the Nord Stream 2 project and the Brent decommissioning controversy, which is also still in progress. 

My interest in Allseas started eight years ago when I received unsolicited allegations involving Allseas and Shell. Allseas denied being involved and threatened legal action.


Any implication that Allseas is any way involved in, or supported by, a political agenda – including any reference to conspiracy, criminality and non-transparent business relationships – is completely unfounded and refuted in the strongest possible terms.

While Allseas welcomes the right to freedom of expression, facts that are inaccurate or used in suggestive context can severely damage the company’s reputation and will not be tolerated. In that case Allseas will take immediate legal action against companies and/or individuals.


I published the threats, not the allegations. 

Although the reputation of Allseas has been tainted, it is a saintly company compared with other business associates Shell has had over its long history. 

For example, the Nazis led by Adolf Hitler; the German chemical giant IG Farben; the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi; the Apartheid regime in South Africa; the Nigerian despot General Sani Abacha, and more recently, the poisonous Putin regime in Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Related extracts from my own article: Lloyd’s Register PR Fanfair Saluting Nazi named mega-ship The Pieter Schelte

Other pages from the Judgement provide the judges assessment of Mr Edward Heerema and the competence and gullibility of named Allseas directors. One short-duration Allseas director, Mr Merek Rejniak, was held by the Judge to be one of  the fraudsters responsible for the £100 million scam perpetrated on Allseas.

I think most ordinary people if they read the information contained in the court documents and via the links below, might share my assessment of Mr Heerema as an arrogant sinister man, apparently normally protected when travelling in his home country by a team of four bodyguards, who employs a security manager (see below) and engages in shady financial machinations.

Leo van Wezel, a former police detective, has been the security manager of Allseas since 1995. It is fair to say that he was ridiculed by the Judge on the basis of his testimony, including his remarks about the notorious American security firm, Blackwater and the US government. His ethics and professionalism were also drawn into question as was the reliability of his testimony. The judge pointed out that Mr Wezel was given evidence by one of the fraudsters to hide from a UK Metropolitan police unit (which specialises in money laundering cases). He removed that evidence from the UK jurisdiction.  It ended up in the hands of solicitors overseas acting for his employer, Allseas.  The judge remarked that it was surprising conduct for a former police officer.

The judge rightly criticised Allseas attitude to the UK police and described it as “another example of the inadequacy of the evidence of Allseas in this case.”

It was the greed of Edward Heerema and his long-time fellow directors, Messrs Kooger and Visser, who the judge described as “unbelievably inept and naive,” that made them dupes in an elaborate pantomime of a scam in which the Pope, The Vatican, The Queen of England, The US Federal Reserve Bank, the UN, and others, were unwitting players. The judge ruled that Messrs Kooger and Visser were in breach of their duties as Allseas directors to the extent that it passed the threshold of potentially constituting contributory negligence in the £12 million loss to the company as a result of the scam – a loss that would have been £100 million if not for the timely determined intervention of the UK police and the action the police took despite opposition and threats from Allseas.

Extract from paragraph 29 of the judgement:

At the end the loss was confined to €12m not because of anything the Claimants did but because of the efforts of the Metropolitan Police who protected the balance of the monies in the Notable account despite the protests on the part of Allseas. They actually threatened the Metropolitan Police with claims for damages if the monies were not released.


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