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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?

ARTICLE ENDS

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

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

THE TIMES: Oil executive Peter Bosworth got millions from ‘corrupt’ Nigeria deal

Dan Etete, a former Nigerian oil minister and convicted money launderer, has been linked with the dealREUTERS

British executive is named in court documents

A mysterious British executive has been identified as the recipient of millions of pounds from a $1.3 billion Nigerian oil deal at the centre of one of the industry’s biggest corruption scandals.

Peter Bosworth and the trading firm he ran, Arcadia Petroleum, have been named in multiple court documents as among the ultimate recipients of funds from the allegedly corrupt 2011 deal in which Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, the Italian company, acquired a prized offshore oil block, The Times and the investigative website Finance Uncovered can reveal. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Shell, Eni used Nigeria’s share of OPL 245 to fund billion dollar bribery scheme

April 25, 2019: An analysis by oil consultancy firm, Resources for Development, says oil giants Shell/Eni’s deal for the controversial OPL 245 included “unprecedented terms” which funded an alleged bribery scheme.

The analysis was commissioned by four non-governmental groups — Global Witness, HEDA, Re:Common and The Corner House — based on publicly available documents.

This included Shell and Eni’s valuations of the oil block, according to a statement released by the NGOs on Thursday. read more

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Nigeria Issues Arrest Warrants for Ex-Ministers Over Malabu Oil Deal

INTERPOL and any other law enforcement agencies would have the authority to arrest the men.

By Reuters: April 17, 2019

ABUJA/LONDON — A Nigerian judge issued arrest warrants for two former ministers and an Eni manager over the sale of offshore oilfield OPL 245 by Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Dan Etete, former petroleum minister, ex-attorney general Mohammed Adoke and Eni manager Roberto Casula “are to be arrested anywhere they are found”, the EFCC said in a statement. It said it followed a ruling by a judge in the capital, Abuja. read more

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BLOOMBERG: Nigeria Court Orders Arrests Over Shell and Eni Malabu Oil Deal

By Dulue Mbachu: 17 April 2019, 16:25 BST

A court in Nigeria ordered the arrest of two former ministers and others allegedly connected with illegal payments leading to the 2011 acquisition of what is considered one of the biggest oil fields in the West African country.

Former Justice Minister and Attorney General Mohammed Adoke, ex-Oil Minister Dan Etete and five foreign nationals linked to the acquisition of Malabu’s Oil Prospecting License 245 were declared wanted Wednesday by Justice Danlami Senchi of the Federal High Court, Abuja. read more

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Shell/Eni alleged $1.1 billion paid in bribes to Nigerian government officials

Royal Dutch Shell and Italy’s Eni have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2011 over an alleged $1.1 billion paid in bribes to Nigerian government officials,  related to the acquisition of new off-shore drilling rights. Nigeria is now counter-suing for $1.14 billion (868 million British pounds) in a London court…

Contributor, Energy: April 15. 2019

With the reelection of Muhammadu Buhari to the Nigerian presidency, Africa’s leading oil exporter faces a challenge as old as Nigeria itself: political corruption. This scourge shortchanges ordinary Nigerians and undermines the country’s development.

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) and Italy’s Eni (NYSE:E) have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2011 over an alleged $1.1 billion paid in bribes to Nigerian government officials,  related to the acquisition of new off-shore drilling rights. Nigeria is now counter-suing for $1.14 billion (868 million British pounds) in a London court, claiming that Shell and Eni assisted “corrupt Nigerian government officials to breach fiduciary duties” in the deal. This scandal comes after a leaked 2013 report, which details how Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owed the government $20 billion in revenue due to its failure to report its earnings. It seems there is no shortage of legal quagmires for Africa’s most populous nation. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Shell, Eni In Italian Court Over OPL 245 Award Process

Ayoade told the court: “The award process for OPL245 to Shell and ENI did not follow the procedure established in the Petroleum Act, Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulation and DPR Guidance Notes for Prospective Bidders. Failure to follow the relevant laws, policies and regulations is fatal to the legality of the OPL 245 award (Zebra Energy Ltd V FGN (2002)). It is my considered view that the licence award on the basis of a FGN Resolution Agreement is anomalous and unprecedented in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector.”

BY SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK: APR 05, 2019

The Federal Government appears to have made progress in the prosecution of the flaws associated with the controversial award of OPL 245 to oil giants, Shell and Eni.

On Wednesday, a consultant hired by Italian prosecutors, Dr Dayo Ayoade, said in Italy that the contract award of OPL 245 to Shell and ENI, did not follow Nigerian legal provisions. He spoke in Milan, where he made lead presentations to prosecutors.

Ayoade, of the Department of Law, University of Lagos, was hired by Milan prosecutors to ascertain whether the two oil giants met corporate and legal obligations. The celebrated case is being contested by high-profile legal experts from Nigeria and across the world, including a retired Nigerian Supreme Court Judge, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola JSC (Rtd), who stood in for Shell; a Queens Counsel (QC), Prof. Frank Odita, representing ENI, with Mrs. Felicia Femi Olusegun. read more

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Consultant faults Eni, Shells valuation of OPL 245

A consultant who stood as witness before an Italian court in Milan on Thursday faulted the valuation of the controversial Oil Prospecting License 245 by oil giants Eni and Shell.

Stephen Rogers appeared before an Italian court Thursday morning as expert witness for Nigeria and presented testimony on the economic cost of the 2011 deal for OPL 245.

Mr Rogers is a partner at the oil consultancy group Arthur D Little with over 30 years experience at Hess, BP and TXU/EON. read more

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OPL 245 Italian Trial News 3 April 2019

THE contract award of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI, did not follow Nigerian legal provisions, Dayo Ayoade, a Nigerian legal practitioner told a court in Milan, Italy on Wednesday.

Ayoade said this during his lead presentations to prosecutors in the ongoing case of the Malabu oil deal which had to do with the controversial and illegal selling of one of Nigeria’s most promising oil well, OPL 245, to two giant international oil companies (IOCs), Shell and ENI. read more

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Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden wiretapped by Dutch Public Prosecutors

English translation of an article published by Dutch newspaper ncr.nl on 26 March 2019. The extensive parts of the article relating to Ben van Burden and Shell are in bold print. 

Are top managers being bugged?

White collar, dirty hands? You don’t have to be a suspect of cocaine smuggling in the Netherlands to be overheard by the judiciary. In recent years, the telephones of at least two board chairmen have been tapped. Maybe even more. They never put such information in an annual report.

The first was Theo Bruijninckx, chairman of the board of the then already financially weakened construction company Ballast Nedam. In the spring of 2012, he was intercepted on various telephones (home, mobile, at the office). He was not a suspect, but justice was looking for information about an older bribery case. Ballast Nedam was taken over by the Turkish conglomerate Rönesans after a series of losses in 2015. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

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

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

OPL 245: Shell Annual Report 2018: NIGERIAN LITIGATION 

In February 2019, we were informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (DPP) that they are nearing the conclusion of their investigation and are preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over OPL 245 in Nigeria. Investigations by authorities in other jurisdictions are ongoing.

Any violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other relevant anti-bribery, anti-corruption or anti-money laundering legislation could have a material adverse effect on Royal Dutch Shell plc’s earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

Shell Annual Report 2018: NIGERIAN LITIGATION

NIGERIAN LITIGATION
Shell subsidiaries and associates operating in Nigeria are parties to various environmental and contractual disputes brought in the courts of Nigeria, England and the Netherlands. These disputes are at different stages in litigation, including at the appellate stage, where judgements have been rendered against Shell entities. If taken at face value, the aggregate amount of these judgements could be seen as material. Management, however, believes that the outcomes of these matters will ultimately be resolved in a manner favourable to Shell. However, there remains a high degree of uncertainty regarding these cases, as well as their potential effect on future operations, earnings, cash flows and Shell’s financial condition. read more

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OPL 245: SHELL, GRAFT AND THE OGONI

Mark Robinson

Last week, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) revealed that it is facing charges in the Netherlands relating to corruption allegations surrounding a Nigerian oil bloc called OPL 245. Shell and Italian major ENI SpA (ENI.IM) acquired the licence in 2011 for around $1.3bn (£992m), but it’s alleged that a significant proportion of the monies was destined for use as kickbacks for politicians and officials, with former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete – a convicted money launderer – acting as the principal intermediary. Although the funds were paid to the Nigerian government, it’s claimed that they found their way into the coffers of Malabu Oil and Gas — a company linked to Mr Etete. read more

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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

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Witness in Shell-Eni Nigeria Trial Withdraws Graft Accusations

By Kelly Gilblom, Sergio Di Pasquale and Chiara Albanese: 6 March 2019, 16:24 GMT

Richard Granier-Deferre testified in Milan Wednesday

Shell, Eni accused of participating in corrupt 2011 oil deal

A retired Swiss oil executive who previously said he had knowledge of illicit dealings over a Nigerian oil block involving Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA reversed his statements at a trial in Milan Wednesday.

“I’ve never had contact with Shell,” ex-executive Richard Granier-Deferre said. “I’ve never had relations with people from Eni in my entire career.”

The trial centers on Oil Prospecting License 245, offshore Nigeria, which has snowballed into one of the largest scandals over alleged corruption in the industry’s history. Italian prosecutors are arguing that when Shell and Eni paid more than $1 billion to settle legal disputes over the block and acquire rights to develop it, much of that payment went into bribes and kickbacks. On Friday, Shell said it is also facing criminal charges in its home country of The Netherlands over the block. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Royal Dutch Shell Plc admitted in 2017 that ‘various’ countries are investigating OPL 245 scandal

By John Donovan

Printed below are extracts from Shell’s Annual Report and Form 20-F 2016 relating to the OPL 245 corruption scandal. Shell confirmed that authorities “in various countries” are investigating its investment in Nigerian Oil Block OPL 245. 

Page 15

Authorities in various countries are investigating our investment in Nigerian oil block OPL 245 and the 2011 settlement of litigation pertaining to that block. On January 27, 2017, the Nigeria Federal High Court issued an Interim Order of Attachment for oil block OPL 245, pending the conclusion of the investigation. Shell has applied to discharge this order on constitutional and procedural grounds. On February 14, 2017, we received notice of the request of indictment from the Italian prosecution office in Milan with respect to this matter. read more

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