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A suitcase full of secrets about oil, sex and bribery by Shell

English translation of an article published by the Dutch news media giant 

A suitcase full of secrets about oil, sex and bribery by Shell

Shell in Nigeria A dubious game took place around Africa’s most coveted oil field. New, secret documents from a confiscated suitcase tell how Shell tried to avoid reputational damage.

Former oil minister Dan Etete (r) was the owner of the oil field, but also infected after a conviction for money laundering. Photo Gindl Barbara / AFP

What’s the news?

The Italian prosecutor suspects that the former chief executive of Shell in Nigeria has benefited from the controversial purchase by Shell of the mega-oil field OPL 245 off the Nigerian coast. This is Sunmonu Mutiu, who led the Nigerian division of the Anglo-Dutch oil company. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Africa Energy Intelligence – OPL 245: the silent exodus of team in charge of the deal at Shell

Extracts from NIGERIA Africa Energy Intelligence article dated 07/01/2020

As an Italian court continues its probe into the award of Nigeria’s most promising offshore block, all those involved in the deal at Shell are no longer with the major.

These include the head of upstream at the time Malcolm Brinded, former general counsel Keith Ruddock and legal advisor for Africa Guus Klusener.

Shell’s political advisor and ex-MI6 John Copleston, who met with Etete on several occasions to discuss the OPL 245 deal in 2010, has left…

Another former MI6 agent, Guy Colegate, who had advised Shell during the OPL 245 talks from Nigeria, left to work for Heritage Oil in 2013… read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Descriptions of Shell’s MI6 linked Spy Firm Hakluyt

Hakluyt is known as a retirement home for ex-MI6 officers…

Hakluyt (now Holdingham Group Ltd) a private MI6 outfit, that met with …

Hakluyt, a UK-US corporate intelligence arm and offshoot to MI6

Created by former MI6 British Secret Service agentsHakluyt is an ultra secretive firm whose client list reads like a who’s who of the business world…

The ensuing scandal catapulted Hakluyt to mainstream notoriety, and led several MPs to accuse MI6 of using the firm as a front for its own operations. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Lawsuits involving James W.D. Hall, Head of Royal Dutch Shell Global Corporate Security

The screenshot Information about James W.D. Hall, Head of Royal Dutch Shell Global Corporate Security was downloaded on 11 June 2019 and assumed to be correct and current at that time. He is in charge of over 250 Shell security supervisory staff worldwide. Is he yet another Shell MI6 hire, as per his predecessor, Ian Forbes McCredie? The selection of authentic high-level Shell internal emails below provides some indication of the character and ethics of senior Shell executives and Shell’s hired spooks. More court exhibits will be added on a regular basis until further notice.  


Related article: Spectacular falling out of ‘Security Professionals’ at the top of Shell

Extract from the 80-page legal complaint (recommended read to understand why Shell could not let the case go to trial)

Mr. Hall’s own e-mails and statements clearly prove that he violated Section 3.4 of Shell’s Code of Conduct, which states, in relevant part, that “[w]hen making employment decisions, including hiring, evaluation, promotion, training, development, discipline, compensation and termination, you must base them solely on objective factors, including merit, qualifications, performance and business considerations. . . . [Y]ou should understand the value of diversity and must not discriminate in any way based on race, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, ethnic origin or nationality.” read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Report of current court proceedings in OPL 245 criminal case against Shell and ENI

It appears, according to court documents, at the request of ‘Royal Dutch Shell plc’ and four suspected former Shell employees who are mentioned by name and by name in the Italian summons. These are two former British secret agents, hired by Shell as oil men whose main task was to make the inscrutable Nigerian policy more transparent. And two senior Shell managers: former board member Malcolm Brinded and former Africa director Peter Robinson. The foursome is said to have been closely involved in preparing the bribes payments…: “He is a former head of the British secret service MI6, but really no more than a junior employee at Shell in Nigeria.

…in the Netherlands, the FIOD invaded the head office in 2016 and a criminal case for corruption seems imminent. 

Translation of an article published today by the Dutch broadcaster NRC Handelsblad.

“By Nigerian standards, this was a great oil deal”

Shell lawsuit: After months of waiting, Shell took the floor on Tuesday in the court case about possible bribery at the unexplored Nigerian oil field OPL245.

By Merijn Rengers, Carola Wood Room, June 4, 2019

Room 7, where the largest corruption case in Dutch company history is fought, is bursting at the seams. It is warm and noisy and the available seats are already set aside early in the morning for at least 25 Italian lawyers, their crowd of assistants and prosecutors. The other listeners – Shell representatives, activists, interested parties – are forced to sit and sit in the back, or cage in two paying cells on either side of the courtroom where normally detained suspects await their verdict. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Chilling similarities between the OPL 245 and Ogoni 9 litigation

Esther Kiobel and John Donovan, 28 April 2019, days before a Dutch court ruled in favour of Esther and her co-plaintiffs in an action against Shell allowing their case to proceed

By John Donovan

In 1996, Shell used the sinister specialist services of what could be described as an in-house spying resource set up by former MI6 officers, Hakluyt & Company Limited with titled Shell directors acting as the ultimate spymasters.

At that time, Sir William Purves was Chairman of Hakluyt & Company Limited and Sir Peter Holmes, a former Chairman of Shell, was President of the Hakluyt Foundation. Both were also major shareholders in the corporate spy outfit, while also being Shell directors.

Hakluyt was allegedly set up to carry out “deniable” corporate espionage operations.

A German-born secret service agent Manfred Schlickenrieder working undercover for Hakluyt was sent to Nigeria on a mission relating to allegations of environmental damage caused by Shell’s oil drilling in Ogoniland.

Extracts from a related front-page article published by The Sunday Times in 2001 under the headline MI6 ‘Firm’ Spied on Green Groups:

Schlickenrieder sometimes posed as a left-wing sympathizer and documentary filmmaker.

He also tried to dupe Anita Roddick’s Body Shop group to pass on information about its opposition to Shell drilling for oil in a Nigerian tribal land.

His company was a one-man band with a video camera making rarely seen documentaries.

He made a film on Shell in Nigeria called Business as Usual: the Arrogance of Power, during which he interviewed friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nobel prize nominee, who was hanged by the military regime in 1995 after leading a campaign against oil exploration. Schlickenrieder sent a letter to a Body Shop executive saying he had been researching the activities of Shell in Nigeria…

Fouad Hamdan, communications director of Greenpeace Germany, said: “The bastard was good, I have to admit. “He got information about our planned Atlantic Frontier campaign…”  He added: “Manfred filmed and interviewed all the time…”

The Sunday Times article is short on dates and information about what Shell’s undercover agent was up to in Nigeria, but it was at a time when litigation was being contemplated against Shell by relatives of Ken Saro Wiwi and Ogoni Nine widows.

Perhaps information about the purpose and timing of his spying mission in Nigeria will be contained in the confidential Shell internal documents the Dutch Court has ordered to be handed over to Esther Kiobel and her co-plaintiffs. Sight of his briefing by Shell/Hakluyt could be very revealing.

Part of the Kiobel & Co Dutch case against Shell relates to alleged Shell bribing of witnesses in the Ogoni Nine trial, which ended with the hanging of all nine individuals, including Ken Saro-Wiwi and the beloved husband of Esther Kiobel, Dr Barinem Kiobel.

Salient extracts from the Wikipedia article “Ogoni Nine”

The executions provoked international condemnation and led to the increasing treatment of Nigeria as a pariah state

At least two witnesses who testified that Saro-Wiwa was involved in the murders of the Ogoni elders later recanted, stating that they had been bribed with money and offers of jobs with Shell to give false testimony – in the presence of Shell’s lawyer.

Shell’s close association with former MI6 people has continued through the years. They always seem to be lurking in the shadows.

I am in possession of irrefutable evidence that an ex MI6 man Ian Forbes McCredie,  hired by Shell to be head of Shell Global Security, was also part of Hakluyt & Company.

More recently, Ben van Beurden, the current Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc mentioned in a telephone conversation that Shell had hired former MI6 people in connection with the OPL 245 oil deal. He did not know that the conversation was being covertly recorded by OPL 245 investigative authorities.

Two of the defendants in the current OPL 245 criminal $1.3bn  corruption trial against Shell in Italy are indeed former MI6 agents; namely John Copleston and Guy Colegate.

Would someone kindly explain how any of this sinister and unscrupulous activity is compatible with Shell’s claimed core business principles, including honesty, integrity and transparency?


Disclosure by the author of this article: The lead claimant Esther Kiobel, her lawyer Channa Samkalden of the Dutch human rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira representing the widows, and the acclaimed human rights organisation Amnesty International, have all acknowledged the involvement of John Donovan in bringing *this case. (*See Writ of Summons in English and Dutch served on Shell 28 June 2017 – copy obtained from US Pacer public electronic court records) As Esther generously said on 28 April 2019, the Dutch case would not have happened without the help of John Donovan.  read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Shell’s intent to ‘kill’ news coverage of John Donovan and his website

By John Donovan

Shell internal email communications obtained from Shell under the UK Data Protection Act 1998 provide proof of Shell’s intent to “kill” news coverage of John Donovan and his website,

Please read this Shell internal email about a half page news article written by then Sunday Times journalist Steven Swinford. It clearly indicates Shell’s intent to “kill” the article.

The article was about my intervention in the Sakhalin 2 project, which cost Shell its majority stake in the venture. Although the entire article was read to me over the phone by Steven Swinford hours before it was due to be published, it never appeared. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Outrage over Shell CEO monster pay package

Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden bows to Russian Leader Putin: Good Friday, 18 April 2014

Yesterday the Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad published a truly devastating article Shell gas leaks, fires and accidents about Shell playing fast and loose with the health and lives of its employees. Today there is mass coverage of the outrage over the £17m pay package awarded to Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. The revulsion also has to be seen against the damaging litigation engulfing the energy giant, including OPL 245 corruption charges and a related raid on Shell HQ involving BvB and his then CFO, Simon Henry. Both were embarrassed by a wiretapped conversation between them discussing obstructing the investigation and the revelation by BvB that Shell had hired hapless former MI6 “people” who had been cavalier with Shell’s OPL 245 secrets. Why is Shell rewarding such behaviour, which is completely at odds with Shell’s claimed business principles?  

Shell chief’s pay doubles to 143 times average UK employee’s

The chief executive of oil-company Shell saw his pay more than double last year to more than €20m (£17m). Ben van Beurden’s total salary in 2017, which was approximately €9m, prompted a shareholder revolt. The raise comes as the company increased its annual profits by almost $10bn and is largely down to long-term incentives kicking in. Dutchman Mr van Beurden’s pay is now 143 times larger than the average Shell employee in the UK. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Shell’s secret Nigerian comms investigators have never seen

By John Donovan

Shell internal email correspondence relating to the OPL 245 oil deal has been very revealing and may seal the fate of defendants in the Italian trial, including the former MI6 people hired by Shell. Their names, Guy Colgate and John Copleston, appeared on the emails. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The crooks at USB Bank and Royal Dutch Shell

Former Shell CEO Peter Voser is an unlucky man. He had the incredible misfortune to be in charge of the bad guys at both corporate giants, Shell and UBS Bank simultaneously, while presumably being personally innocent of any criminal acts? What are the chances of that happening? The question of managerial negligence, twice-over, must surely be another matter?

By John Donovan

Printed below is an article published yesterday by BBC News reporting that the “Swiss banking giant UBS has been fined €3.7bn (£3.2bn; $4.2bn) in a French tax fraud case.”

The article goes on to say that “Following similar cases in the US in 2009 and Germany in 2014, the bank accepted large fines.”

During the period of criminal activity the then Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc – Peter Voser – was paid millions of Swiss francs in his role as a director of UBS AG. He was also a member of the governance and nominating committee and of the strategy committee. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

OPL245: Former Nigerian Minister Admits Receiving $10m Bribe From Dan Etete For Malabu Oil Deal

Latest news on the OPL 245 scandal involving several senior Shell executives, including Malcolm Brinded and MI6 “people” hired by Shell, as admitted by RDS Chief Executive Ben van Beurden during a telephone call surreptitiously recorded by investigators. During the same conversation, on the spur of the moment and perhaps shocked by the news that RDS global HQ was being searched for evidence, he issued instructions that if carried out, could qualify as obstruction of a criminal investigation.  read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Malcolm Brinded’s responsibility for Brent Bravo deaths

Despite his sleazy record, Malcolm Brinded (above) remains President of the Energy Institute

By John Donovan

The Shell cover-up surrounding the deaths of two workers on the Shell Brent Bravo North Sea platform is coming under active scrutiny again as a result of an initiative by retired Shell *safety guru Bill Campbell. Bill is acting on behalf of the family of one of the deceased platform workers, Keith Moncrieff.

For over a decade, the truly extraordinary story about what happened was withheld from the families of the deceased and from investigating authorities by Shell and those parties over whom Shell had influence. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.


Emails exchanged between senior Shell staff including John Copleston and Guy Colegate show they knew a massive payment would go to convicted money launderer and former oil minister Dan Etete.


By John Donovan

During a wiretapped telephone conversation held on 17 February 2016 between Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden and Simon Henry, his then CFO, BvB made reference to what he described as “really unhelpful emails” relating to the Shell/Eni Nigerian corruption scandal.

The call took place hours after Shell’s HQ building in The Hague was raided by authorities investigating the OPL 245 Nigerian oil deal. Two middle men have already been found guilty of involvement in the $1.3 billion corruption scandal. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Shell playing with fire in Russia

By John Donovan

Shell is a major investor in Putin’s Russia, which uses revenues from hydrocarbon sales to finance illegal and immoral wars against Ukraine and Syria. Not to mention the murder of Russian and UK citizens using outlawed radioactive and chemical weapons.

Shell’s main business partner in Russia is Gazprom, whose board is filled with former KGB and other questionable characters.

Shell is partnering with Gazprom on Sakhalin 2, the Nordstream II pipeline and the Baltic LNG project. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Shell Legal Director Donny Ching, asks staff not to speculate about first verdicts in OPL 245 corruption trials 

Shell Legal Director Donny Ching (above) effectively outlaws internal discussion among Shell staff of the first chilling verdicts in the OPL 245 trial.

It is a heavyweight ask directed at all Shell staff, effectively outlawing internal discussion of the OPL 245 litigation, when the ask in question comes from the Legal Director and board member of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Who would dare, under the circumstances, to discuss such a self-evidently taboo subject with colleagues? 


By John Donovan

Printed below is a leaked Shell internal memo sent to all Shell staff by Donny Ching, Legal Director of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

It provides proof of the understandable great sensitivity attached to the criminal trials in Milan Italy stemming from the Nigerian OPL 245 corruption scandal.

The two middlemen defendants in the fast-track OPL 245 trial cited by Mr Ching have already been found guilty and sent to jail for four years.

In his message to all Shell staff, Mr Ching asks them not to engage in speculation on the verdicts on middlemen Emeka Obi and Gianluca di Nardo and how they might relate to the trial involving Shell and four of Shell’s “former employees.” Two of them being former MI6 people hired by Shell, as confirmed by RDS CEO Ben van Beurden. read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.


Brinded’s reaction to the devastating findings and recommendations of the Campbell led review was to shoot the messenger, namely, Bill Campbell. Brinded chose to ignore the stunning findings by the audit team and the recommendations made by its leader Mr. Campbell in relation to the Asset Manager. Instead, Brinded supported the mentally unhinged “foaming at the mouth” Asset Manager who was able to return to his tyrannical TFA regime shortly thereafter, despite his instability. Compared with him, Captain Bligh was a sweetie. The inevitable fatal outcome accurately foretold in the review, resulted from the ruthless, unprincipled criminal decision by Brinded to put production before safety. Astonishing stuff bearing in mind that the Asset Manager repeatedly blamed “his master” Brinded, who he colourfully described as a “bastard”



By John Donovan

In November last year the brother of Keith Moncrieff, one of two workers who in 2003 tragically died in an accident on the Shell Brent Bravo North Sea oil platform, sent a heart-rending letter to Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chairman Charles Holliday.

He pleaded for help in bringing “these evil men to justice” – a reference to the Shell executives and officials he now knows were responsible for what the Scottish courts determined were “avoidable deaths“.  As far as I am aware, no reply was forthcoming. Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgment. (UPDATED 3 Oct 2018 PM: IN FACT MR HOLLIDAY DID REPLY AND DID OFFER HIS CONDOLENCES – SEE THE BOLD BLUE TEXT FURTHER DOWN) read more and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.
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