Now Superintendent Thomas Murphy has approached OSSL saying that he is going to investigate. He has presented himself “as an independent person to the ongoing issues in Co Mayo” with clean hands. I can only guess that he did not receive a share of the free booze received from Shell by hundreds of his fellow County Mayo Garda police officers. With all due respect to Superintendent Murphy, he can hardly be described as “independent”. However, if Superintendent Murphy decides to press ahead, the first person he should approach is Detective Chief Superintendent John Gilligan. He should ask Gilligan if he personally helped unload a delivery of alcohol at Bellmullet Garda station. (He did) If Gilligan declines to answer without first seeking advice from his lawyer, that alone would speak volumes. Superintendent Murphy may also wish to ask Gilligan and the other Garda who offloaded the free booze, who paid for it, who delivered it and who ended up drinking it?
By John Donovan
We have already published several articles about Shell’s corruption of the Irish Police Force, the Garda.
Shell has spent almost €100,000 at legitimate retail value on supplying free alcohol (brought across the border) to quell the thirst of hundreds of Garda officers involved in supposedly policing the controversial Corrib Gas Project on an impartial basis. Complaints have been made over the past several years by environmental campaigners and members of the local population all alleging that the police are working for Shell.
The Garda is currently the subject of public ridicule on YouTubeover the Shell alcohol corruption scandal.
Shell used a small local company, OSSL, as a “Mr Fixit” to ease the progress of the much hated pipeline by spreading gifts around where deemed necessary, for example on land owners.
To hide what was going on, invoices were falsified and OSSL had to hand over to Shell receipts for goods purchased for distribution to the lucky recipients, such as the free booze showered on County Mayo police.
Now more revelations:
- OSSL allege that Terry Nolan, when Chief Executive of Shell EP Ireland, demanded that Neil Rooney of OSSL should give a false statement to a Garda Ombudsman inquiry into a violent incident that took place at Pollathomais in County Mayo involving Garda Superintendent Joe Gannon, allegedly described by Nolan as being “Shell’s man”.
- During the Royal Dutch Shell Plc AGM held in May, Peter Voser, the Chief Executive of the oil giant publicly agreed to intervene with a view to resolving outstanding issues with OSSL. So Voser is now personally involved.
- The Garda has appointed Superintendent Thomas Murphy from the Swinford district of County Mayo to investigate the allegations made by OSSL.
- OSSL claim that in 2003 they engaged in a covert operation on behalf of Shell EP Ireland and discovered that the objective of the cover of darkness activity was to fool planning officials and avoid a potential delay of up to a year and considerable embarrassment for Shell. From what I have seen, the mission seems to have been executed like a comedy caper, but the intent was serious and apparently successful.
- OSSL owner Desmond Kane is so appalled by the continuing treacherous treatment his small company has received from Shell, including the failure of the Peter Voser intervention, that there are fears for his health.
“FACE OFF IN POLLATHOMAIS”
This was a particularly violent face off in Pollathomais between lawful protestors on the one side and Shell and its agents, including the Garda led by Superintendent Joe Gannon on the other. As can be seen in a YouTube video, a digger machine used by Shell became the focus of the fracas. It was in regard to this ugly confrontation that Shell EP Ireland CEO Terry Nolan demanded that Neil Rooney, who witnessed events, must falsify his evidence given to the investigation carried out by the Garda Ombudsman. Nolan informed Rooney that his statement had to be changed because the policeman involved in the incident was going to be hung out to dry and he was, as Nolan allegedly put it“our man” and “had to protected at all costs”.
After Rooney consulted with his OSSL colleague, Desmond Kane, over the demand to submit a new statement, he understandably declined to do so. Shell’s whole attitude to OSSL then changed dramatically for the worse. Neil Rooney says: “there is no doubt in my mind that that refusal to lie ‘on demand’ for the Shell CEO cost us our positions and livelihood and we are still paying a massive price.”
INTERVENTION BY PETER VOSER
I supplied OSSL with admittance cards to the May 2013 Royal Dutch Shell Plc AGM with a recommendation that they should raise their dispute with Shell EP Ireland directly with Peter Voser in the Q & A Session. This was after Mr Voser had chosen for several months to ignore emails from OSSL. Now he was publicly cornered into speaking on this potentially explosive subject and quickly agreed to a meeting with a view to resolution. He accepted a condition set by OSSL. Iain Middleton, Royal Dutch Shell Contracting and Procurement Leader for Europe subsequently confirmed in an email to OSSL that he had been asked by Peter Voser to meet with Desmond Kane and Neil Rooney of OSSL in Dublin. OSSL had insisted on someone representing Shell who had not been involved with Shell EP Ireland. The meeting came to nought because Shell wrongly calculated that it could still keep a lid on the scandal.
GARDA/SHELL INVESTIGATION OF THE ALLEGATIONS
The Garda says it has already carried out an internal investigation of OSSL allegations and found no evidence to support them. In other words the Garda investigated the Garda and the Garda conveniently cleared the Garda.
Shell has used precisely the same clever formula.
Shell says that it carried out an internal investigation and found no evidence to support the allegations. Shell investigated Shell and Shell conveniently cleared Shell.
This whitewashing process allows a scandal to be covered up. The end result is a sanitizing statement carefully and deliberately designed to deceive.
Both the Garda and Shell know that in fact the allegations are true.
Now Superintendent Thomas Murphy has approached OSSL saying that he is going to investigate. He has presented himself “as an independent person to the ongoing issues in Co Mayo” with clean hands. I can only guess that he did not receive a share of the free booze received from Shell by hundreds of his fellow County Mayo Garda police officers. With all due respect to Superintendent Murphy, he can hardly be described as “independent”.
However, if Superintendent Murphy decides to press ahead, the first person he should approach is Detective Chief Superintendent John Gilligan. He should ask Gilligan if he personally helped unload a delivery of alcohol at Bellmullet Garda station. (He did) If Gilligan declines to answer without first seeking advice from his lawyer, that alone would speak volumes. Superintendent Murphy may also wish to ask Gilligan and the other Garda who offloaded the free booze, who paid for it, who delivered it and who ended up drinking it?
There is a volume of correspondence between OSSL and Shell when the alcohol issue is discussed and no denial is made by Shell. A classic example is an email exchange that took place on 22 May 2012 between OSSL and the current CEO of Shell EP Ireland, Mr Michael Crothers. OSSL detailed a threat it had allegedly received from a party acting for Shell in relation to the supply of large amounts of alcohol to the Irish Police Force and related falsification of invoices. 22 minutes later OSSL received a reply from Mr Crothers. He did not take issue with or make any denial in respect of the statements about the threat to OSSL, the large amounts of alcohol showered on the Irish Police, nor on the related disguised invoices. Instead he dealt with another matter raised.
It is notable that in a letter dated May 28, 2013 Mr Crothers sent to a member of the Irish Parliament, Ms Clare Daly, Crothers claimed that Shell had arrived at a “full and final settlement” with OSSL in 2012. Clare Daly had written to Mr Crothers on my behalf. If a full and final settlement had been agreed, why did Peter Voser intervene? Why did the recent meeting between OSSL and Iain Middleton take place if all had already been resolved? Mr Crothers mentions in the same letter an invoice raised by OSSL for the alcohol requesting payment from Shell. If the invoice is fraudulent, why has this crime – an attempt to extort money from Shell on false pretenses – not been reported to the Garda?
In his letter Mr Crothers made plain his disdain for the tactics adopted by OSSL perhaps not expecting that OSSL would ever get to see what he had said about them:
Since last August OSSL has sent hundreds of emails, conducted public demonstrations, made statements on Facebook and has engaged with media in relation to its allegations. Emails demanding money have been directed to SEPIL staff and Royal Dutch Shell leaders. Emails have also been sent by OSSL to numerous journalists, with many senior Shell staff blind-copied on these mails. Local residents have also received emails.
Bearing in mind his repeated protestation in the letter that the OSSL allegations had been investigated and no evidence found to support them, Clare Daly was entitled to conclude that OSSL was engaged in a nasty campaign blackening the name of Shell for no good reason.
Why then did Shell decide at the very highest level to subsequently meet with OSSL again when OSSL had no grounds to pursue Shell, were making false accusations against Shell and doing so in an invidious way?
CONCERN FOR THE HEALTH OF DESMOND KANE
Mr Neil Rooney says that his OSSL colleague, Desmond Kane, has a longstanding heart condition and that the sheer frustration and trauma of being stone-walled and threatened by Shell and its agents is having a bad affect on his health. Information about his current condition has been conveyed to Shell which does not seem interested in the slightest.
Shell and its agents have warned Mr Kane and Mr Rooney of the prospect of imprisonment for their involvement in potential criminal activity in carrying out Shell’s instructions. The fact that both individuals have continued to reveal the truth is out of disgust and outrage at the way Shell pressured them into such activity in the first place and then ditched the company after they refused to give false testimony to the Garda Ombudsman investigation.
I have been in direct contact with Alan Shatter, the Irish Minister for Justice.
Given the gravity of these matters what is needed is a genuinely independent inquiry. Not another internal investigation of the Garda by the Garda.
SOME OF THE RECENT CORRESPONDENCE IS SHOWN BELOW.
CLICK TO ENLARGE ON EACH IMAGE.
EMAIL FROM MICHAEL CROTHERS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SHELL EP IRELAND TO TD DEPUTY, CLARE DALY
EMAIL FROM IAIN MIDDLETON OF SHELL TO DESMOND KANE OF OSSL
EMAIL TO OSSL FROM SUPERINTENDENT THOMAS MURPHY OF THE GARDA
The Department of Energy has confirmed that it has been investigating reports of “sinkholes” or “depressions” on a north Mayo tidal estuary where the final section of the Corrib gas pipeline is being laid.
The company says they are “not sinkholes” but are “shallow temporary depressions of approximately one to two feet in depth”.
However, residents living along the pipeline tunnel route through Sruwaddacon estuary – a special area of conservation (SAC) – say that some of the holes are up to three metres deep and three metres wide.
Terence Conway of Inver and Shell to Sea said that when the hole occurs, the surrounding sand bears a “blue tinge” and is unstable.
Mr Conway noticed the first in a series of holes on May 20th, again on June 14th, and each day during this first week of July, at Aughoose.
The areas lies above where the 500 tonne boring machine – named Fionnuala by Shell after one of the Children of Lir – has been deployed to dig a 4.9km sub-sea tunnel.
“The contractors for Shell have staff out at 5am on the strand, raking over these holes, but no caution signs have been erected in spite of our requests,” he said.
“This is a public strand, and so at one point we put up our own fence to warn people, but it was taken down,” Mr Conway said.
“Adults might be ok, but these are a risk to children. We were told we wouldn’t feel or see this work on the surface at the Bord Pleanála oral hearing nearly three years ago.
“We argued at the hearing that it was not suitable to try to dig a tunnel through an SAC, and one with the particular fluid subsoil here known as dóib.”
The Department of Energy said that the developer had notified it about “depressions in Sruwaddacon.
The department’s consultant tunnelling expert undertook a site review earlier this week, and the “depressions” were being “considered” in this context, it said.
Shell E&P Ireland said that regular “interventions” for maintenance and inspection of the tunnel-boring machine included changing cutter heads.
“This involves the use of compressed air at the front of the machine to protect the workers and to maintain stability at the tunnel face,” it said in a statement to The Irish Times.
For a century, Shell has explored the Earth to make our lives more comfortable. But in its wake, says Andrew Rowell, lies corruption, despoliation and death
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh went to the Shell Centre on the Thames riverside near Waterloo last Tuesday, to crown the company’s centenary celebrations. Critics claim the timing of the Queen’s visit was slightly unfortunate: it came just one day after the second anniversary of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s death in Nigeria: he was campaigning against Shell’s oil exploitation in the region.
The Shell Transport and Trading Company (STTC) has risen from its humble roots in a cramped office in the East End to become one of the most successful corporations of the century. What we collectively know as “Shell” is in fact more than 2,000 companies. Last year, the Shell Group’s profit was a record pounds 5.7 billion, the proceeds from sales of pounds 110 billion. “Were our founder, Marcus Samuel, to reappear today, I do not think he would be displeased with what has grown from his efforts,” says Mark Moody-Stuart, STTC’s chairman.
As part of the centenary celebrations, the cream of the City were invited to a reception at the Guildhall. There is also to be a commemorative book. Whilst it may mention the Shell Better Britain Campaign, and even the controversy over Brent Spar, not everyone will agree with the authorised biography’s version of Shell’s history. Here is a less authorised approach.
After it merged in 1907 with its rival Royal Dutch, the Royal Dutch Shell company was formed; its first chairman was the Dutchman Henri Deterding. By the 1930s, Deterding had become infatuated with Adolf Hitler, and began secret negotiations with the German military to provide a year’s supply of oil on credit. In 1936, he was forced to resign over his Nazi sympathies.
During the early 1940s, as the world waged war, Peru and Ecuador had their own armed border-dispute – over oil. Legend in Latin America says that it was really a power struggle between Shell, based in Ecuador, and Standard Oil in Peru. The company left a lasting reminder of its presence in the country: a town called Shell. Activists in Ecuador are seeking to get the town renamed Saro-Wiwa.
In the post-war years, Shell manufactured pesticides and herbicides on a site previously used by the US military to make nerve gas at Rocky Mountain near Denver. By 1960 a game warden from the Colorado Department of Fish and Game had documented abnormal behaviour in the local wildlife, and took his concerns to Shell, who replied: “That’s just the cost of doing business if we are killing a few birds out there. As far as we are concerned, this situation is all right.”
But the truth was different. “By 1956 Shell knew it had a major problem on its hands,” recalled Adam Raphael in the Observer in 1993. “It was the company’s policy to collect all duck and animal carcasses in order to hide them before scheduled visits by inspectors from the Colorado Department of Fish and Game.” After operations ceased in 1982, the site was among the most contaminated places on the planet, although Shell is now trying to make it into a nature reserve.
At Rocky Mountain, Shell produced three highly toxic and persistent pesticides called the “drins”: aldrin, dieldrin and endrin. Despite four decades of warning over their use, starting in the 1950s, Shell only stopped production of endrin in 1982, of dieldrin in 1987 and aldrin in 1990, and only ceased sales of the three in 1991. Even after production was stopped, stocks of drins were shipped to the Third World.
Another chemical Shell began manufacturing in the 1950s was DBCP, or 1,2 -Dibromo-3-Chloropropane, which was used to spray bananas. This was banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1977 for causing sterility in workers. In 1990, Costa Rican workers who had become sterile from working with the chemical sued Shell and two other companies in the Texan Courts. Shell denied that it ever exported the chemical to Costa Rica and denied that it exported it to any other country after the ban in 1977. The case was settled out of court.
Just as people had begun to question Shell’s products, so they began to challenge its practices. In the 1970s and 1980s, Shell was accused of breaking the UN oil boycott of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) by using its South African subsidiary and other companies in which it had interests. Shell, singled out by anti-apartheid campaigners for providing fuel to the notoriously brutal South African army and police, responded by hiring a PR firm to run an anti-boycott campaign.
By the 1980s criticism of Shell’s operations was spreading. From Inuit in Canada and Alaska, to Aborigines in Australia and Indians in Brazil, indigenous communities were affected by Shell’s operations.
In the Peruvian rainforest, where Shell conducted exploration activities, an estimated 100 hitherto uncontacted Nahua Indians died after catching diseases to which they had no immunity. Shell denies responsibility, and says that it was loggers who contacted the Nahua. By the end of the decade, the company’s image was suffering in the US and UK, too.
In April 1988, 440,000 gallons of oil was discharged into San Francisco Bay from the company’s Martinez refinery, killing hundreds of birds. The following year, Shell spilt 150 tons of thick crude into the River Mersey, and was fined a record pounds 1 million.
But by now, the company was responding to growing international environmental awareness. “The biggest challenge facing the energy industry is the global environment and global warming,” said Sir John Collins, head of Shell UK, in 1990. “The possible consequences of man-made global warming are so worrying that concerted international action is clearly called for.”
Shell joined the Global Climate Coalition, which has spent tens of millions of dollars trying to influence the UN climate negotiations that culminate in Kyoto next month. “There is no clear scientific consensus that man-induced climate change is happening now,” the lobbyists maintain, two years after the world’s leading scientists agreed that there was.
At the same time, the company has taken its own preventive action on climate change and possible sea-level rise by increasing the height of its Troll platform in the North Sea by one metre. By 1993, as Shell’s spin-doctors were teaching budding executives that “ignorance gets corporations into trouble, arrogance keeps them there”, 300,000 Ogoni peacefully protested against Shell’s operations in Nigeria. Since then 2,000 have been butchered, and countless others raped and tortured by the Nigerian military.
In the summer of 1995 there was the outcry over the planned deep-sea sinking of the redundant oil platform Brent Spar, and in November Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed, having been framed by the Nigerian authorities. At the time Shell denied any financial relationship with the Nigerian military, but has since admitted paying them “field allowances” on occasion. This year in Nigeria, the three-million-strong Ijaw community started campaigning against Shell, leading to another military crackdown.
“The military governor says it is for the purpose of protecting the oil companies. The authorities can no longer afford to sit by and have the communities mobilise against the companies. It is Ogoni revisited,” says Uche Onyeagucha, representing the opposition Democratic Alternative. In Peru, Shell has returned to the rainforest. It acknowledges “the need to consider environmental sustainability and responsibility to the people involved”, but the move is still criticised by more than 60 international and local environmental, human-rights and indigenous groups.
“Shell has not learnt from its tragic mistakes,” says Shannon Wright from the Rainforest Action Network, which believes there should be no new fossil-fuel exploration in the rainforest: “They continue to go into areas where there are indigenous people who are susceptible to outside diseases.” Meanwhile, Shell publicly talks of engaging “stakeholders”.
It hopes that we, as consumers, will continue to give it a licence to operate. However, for each barrel produced, the ecological and cultural price increases exponentially. Everyone knows we need to reduce our consumption of oil: but Shell’s very existence depends on selling more of it. Senior executives are said to be “girding our loins for our second century” because “the importance of oil and gas is likely to increase rather than diminish as we enter the 21st century”. Can we let that happen?
guardian.co.uk,June 2013 17.19 BST
Oil company Shell will resume talks next week in London with lawyers representing 15,000 of the poorest people in the world who are claiming millions of pounds’ compensation for oil spills on the Niger delta. But Martyn Day, of Leigh Day law firm which is acting for the communities, said the case could still go to a full high court trial in London in 2014.
Liam Heffernan was arrested on June 12 and has been on hunger strike since last Monday.
Liam Heffernan was arrested at Aughoose last Wednesday for allegedly obstructing Shell construction vehicles as they moved in to bore a tunnel to carry a pipeline in the area.
Campaigners claim his arrest was without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.
They say Heffernan was taken to Belmullet Garda Station where he was offered the opportunity to enter into a bail bond, on the condition that he stay away from Shell’s tunnelling compound at Aughoose.
A Shell to Sea statement said the campaigner explained his motives to the judge, who told him his arguments were better directed towards the government or the High Court.
Heffernan then agreed to enter bail conditions pending another court appearance on July 10, but campaigners say the judge found unspecified problems with his signature and remanded him in custody until the court’s next sitting.
He began a hunger strike on Monday and will tomorrow mark his tenth day in prison, when he is again due before Harristown Court in Castlerea.
Shell to Sea has asked supporters to attend the court in solidarity with the campaigner.
Jun 19th, 2013 by John Donovan.
…an independent investigation into how the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s guidelines are enforced found ‘discrepancies’ between Shell’s story and other accounts of the size and cause of spills… urged Shell to publish all investigations carried out prior to 2011, potentially exposing the company to multi-million pound lawsuits…
Royal Dutch Shell’s claims to be reducing the amount of oil it spills in Nigeria have been undermined by a report into how it publishes data on environmental disasters.
The Anglo-Dutch firm has been at pains to show that most spills in the Niger Delta are the result of thieves hacking into pipelines, a crime known as ‘bunkering’.
But an independent investigation into how the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s guidelines are enforced found ‘discrepancies’ between Shell’s story and other accounts of the size and cause of spills.
Holland’s National Contact Point for the OECD told the oil giant to ‘be prudent’ when publishing spill investigation data.
It also called on Shell to publish figures from before January 2011, when the company began putting information about leaks on its website.
And it repeated UN concerns that investigators are ‘at the mercy of the oil companies’ when assessing the size and severity of spills. The report follows a complaint by Friends of the Earth and
Amnesty International, which submitted evidence of spill investigations it said were heavily influenced by the company.
‘Shell has repeatedly stated operational spills are going down and sabotage is going up. This is all based on a process where the investigator is being investigated,’ said Audrey Gaughran, of Amnesty.
She called for more independent assessment to offset weakness in local regulation.
Shell has pointed to improvements in the way it reports spill information since 2011.
But Gaughran urged Shell to publish all investigations carried out prior to 2011, potentially exposing the company to multi-million pound lawsuits.
Safe sex in Nigeria By John Donovan
Tom Mayne of Global Witness, an NGO, has followed the case closely; he believes things were structured this way so that Shell and ENI could obscure their deal with Malabu by inserting a layer between them. Mr Agaev, Malabu’s former fixer, lends weight to this interpretation. It was, he says, structured to be a “safe-sex transaction”, with the government acting as a “condom” between the buyers and seller.
Court documents shed light on the manoeuvrings of Shell and ENI to win a huge Nigerian oil block and on the dilemmas of their industry
DEALS for oilfields can be as opaque as the stuff that is pumped from them. But when partners fall out and go to court, light is sometimes shed on the bargaining process—and what it exposes is not always pretty. That is certainly true in the tangled case of OPL245, a massive Nigerian offshore block with as much as 9 billion barrels of oil—enough to keep all of Africa supplied for seven years.
After years of legal tussles, in 2011 Shell, in partnership with ENI of Italy, paid a total of $1.3 billion for the block. The Nigerian government acted as a conduit for directing most of that money to the block’s original owner, a shadowy local company called Malabu Oil and Gas. Two middlemen hired by Malabu, one Nigerian, one Azerbaijani, then sued the firm separately in London—in the High Court and in an arbitration tribunal, respectively—claiming unpaid fees for brokering the deal.
The resulting testimony and filings make fascinating reading for anyone interested in the uses and abuses of anonymous shell companies, the dilemmas that oil firms face when operating in ill-governed countries and the tactics they feel compelled to employ to obfuscate their dealings with corrupt bigwigs. They also demonstrate the importance of the efforts the G8 countries will pledge to make, at their summit next week, to put a stop to hidden company ownership and to make energy and mining companies disclose more about the payments they make to win concessions. On June 12th the European Parliament voted to make EU-based resources companies disclose all payments of at least €100,000 ($130,000) on any project.
The saga of block OPL245 began in 1998 when Nigeria’s then petroleum minister, Dan Etete, awarded it to Malabu, which had been established just days before and had no employees or assets. The price was a “signature bonus” of $20m (of which Malabu only ever paid $2m).
The firm intended to bring in Shell as a 40% partner, but in 1999 a new government took power and two years later it cried foul and cancelled the deal. The block was put out to bid and Shell won the right to operate it, in a production-sharing contract with the national petroleum company, subject to payment of an enlarged signature bonus of $210m. Shell did not immediately pay this, for reasons it declines to explain, but began spending heavily on exploration in the block.
Malabu then sued the government. After much legal wrangling, they reached a deal in 2006 that reinstated the firm as the block’s owner. This caught Shell unawares, even though it had conducted extensive due diligence and had a keen understanding of the Nigerian operating climate thanks to its long and often bumpy history in the country. It responded by launching various legal actions, including taking the government to the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.
Malabu ploughed on, hiring Ednan Agaev, a former Soviet diplomat, to find other investors. Rosneft of Russia and Total of France, among others, showed interest but were put off by Malabu’s disputes with Shell and the government. Things moved forward again when Emeka Obi, a Nigerian subcontracted by Mr Agaev, brought in ENI (which already owned a nearby oil block). After further toing and froing—and no end of meetings in swanky European hotels—ENI and Shell agreed in 2011 to pay $1.3 billion for the block. Malabu gave up its rights to OPL245 and Shell dropped its legal actions (see timeline).
The deal was apparently split into two transactions. Shell and ENI paid $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government. Then, once Malabu had signed away its rights to the block, the government clipped off its $210m unpaid signature bonus and transferred just under $1.1 billion to Malabu.
Tom Mayne of Global Witness, an NGO, has followed the case closely; he believes things were structured this way so that Shell and ENI could obscure their deal with Malabu by inserting a layer between them. Mr Agaev, Malabu’s former fixer, lends weight to this interpretation. It was, he says, structured to be a “safe-sex transaction”, with the government acting as a “condom” between the buyers and seller.
It is not hard to see why the oil giants would want to avoid being seen to be dealing directly with Malabu, a shell company with tainted provenance. Its ultimate beneficial owner is widely believed to be Mr Etete, the very minister who had awarded it the block while serving under Sani Abacha, the late, staggeringly corrupt dictator.
In 2007 Mr Etete was found guilty of money-laundering by a French court. His conviction was upheld in 2009. The trial centred on bribes he had allegedly demanded from foreign investors while in government. He used these to buy, among other things, a French mansion and about €1m-worth of Art Deco furniture, according to French court documents.
Then in 2011 Mr Obi, one of the middlemen in the final deal with Shell and ENI, took his claim for unpaid fees to the High Court in London, calling on Mr Etete to give testimony. For unclear reasons, he agreed to do so—but the hearings had to be moved briefly to Paris so that Mr Etete could give evidence, because he had been barred from Britain for failing to disclose his French conviction on entering the country.
Mr Etete claims he has never been more than a consultant to Malabu. If so, he is unusually hands-on. He was the company’s main negotiator and its representative in the High Court, where he admitted to being the sole signatory on its bank accounts. Indeed, there is no evidence of anyone else making decisions for Malabu.
When asked in court about others purportedly linked to the company and its record-keeping, Malabu’s company secretary, Rasky Gbinigie (who describes Mr Etete as a “family friend”), insisted that he had lost the firm’s copy of the register of shareholders and all minutes of meetings, that there was no written correspondence between him, the directors and the shareholders, and that he had no documents to verify who put up the company’s original share capital.
A not-so-secret alias
Last year Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) looked into Malabu after Mohammed Abacha, a son of the former dictator, complained that he had been a founding shareholder but had been illegally cut out. In an interim report later in the year, the commission said that one Kweku Amafegha “stood in” as a nominee director for Mr Etete. In the High Court’s hearing in Paris Mr Etete admitted that he had himself used the surname Amafegha to open accounts in the past. It was, he said, an alias that “I have always used when I go out for secret missions internationally.”
In the same hearing Mr Etete said of OPL245: “I put my blood, I put my life into this oil block”—quite a commitment for a mere consultant. Yet, when asked directly if he was its owner through Malabu, he denied it. When presented with transcripts of a recording in which he supposedly claimed that “It is my block”, he dismissed the transcripts as inaccurate.
Shell and ENI did not respond to The Economist’s questions about whom they believed to be the beneficial owner of Malabu. Whether or not they suspected it to be Mr Etete, their dealings with him were extensive. He met ENI executives repeatedly. High Court testimony indicated that Shell officials had met him as recently as December 2009, after his money-laundering conviction was upheld. In an e-mail that came out in court, a Shell man talked of having had lunch and “lots of iced champagne” with Mr Etete, who had requested figures from Shell on what it was willing to pay Malabu for the block.
ENI says it considered cutting a deal with Malabu directly, until it emerged that the firm might not have full ownership of the oil block because of “existing disputes”, including with Mr Abacha. Mr Obi testified that Shell broke off direct talks with Mr Etete for the same reason, and because he was “an impossible person to deal with”.
But the oil giants were clearly reluctant to throw in the towel. Shell was loth to walk away from a block in which it had already invested tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. (The company will not say how much.) ENI was attracted by the size of the block, the prospect of accompanying tax holidays and a waiver of the usual requirement that production revenues be shared with the national oil company.
Shell and ENI reject the suggestion that their joint purchase was a thinly disguised transaction with a dodgy brass-plate company. Shell says it made payments to the Nigerian government only and that it has acted at all times in accordance with Nigerian law. It previously said it had “not acted in any way that is outside normal global industry practice”. ENI says its payments to the government “were made in a transparent manner through an escrow arrangement with a major international bank”. That bank was JPMorgan Chase. A Lebanese bank had earlier declined to handle the payments, it emerged in court.
The companies’ claim that they bought the block from the state, not Malabu, is disingenuous, says Mr Mayne of Global Witness. It is also contradicted by Nigeria’s attorney-general, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who told a parliamentary committee last July that the companies “agreed to pay Malabu”, with the government acting as an “obligor” and “facilitator.”
The attorney-general was unusually active in helping the deal along. He held meetings with Shell, ENI and Malabu, helped to structure the final agreement and even advised on payments to middlemen, according to Mr Obi. In Nigeria it is highly unusual for an attorney-general to be so involved in a big oil deal. The lead is typically taken by the petroleum ministry, which in this case was said to be livid at being sidelined—particularly when Mr Adoke requested that it extend the deadline it had given Malabu to pay its long-owed signature bonus. Mr Adoke, it was suggested in the High Court, had been lawyer to none other than Mr Etete before serving in government. (Mr Adoke could not be reached for comment.)
Where did the money go?
The attorney-general has rejected as “without basis” claims in the Nigerian press that much of the money the government paid to Malabu in the 2011 deal was “round-tripped” back to bank accounts controlled by public officials. But where that money did end up is shrouded in mystery. Of the $1.1 billion, $800m was paid in two tranches into Malabu accounts. This was then transferred to five Nigerian companies that appear to be shells. One of these, Rocky Top Resources, received $336.5m, some of which seems to have been passed on to unknown “various persons”, according to the EFCC’s report. Some $60m went to an account controlled by Mr Etete, who has said that he received $250m in total for his role in the deal. He said in court that “Malabu shareholders decided to spend their money the way they deemed fit” and that he is investing on their behalf.
Among the listed owners of three of the recipient companies is Abubakar Aliyu, who is reported to have close business ties to a senior politician, Diepreiye Alamiesegha, the former governor of Bayelsa state. Mr Alamiesegha’s skills in escapology would impress Houdini. Detained in Britain on money-laundering charges in 2005, he jumped bail. After returning to Nigeria, he was sentenced in 2007 to two years for each of six corruption-related charges, though he served only a few hours in prison. In March 2013 he received a controversial pardon from Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president. Local press reports have made unsubstantiated allegations linking both the president and Mr Alamiesegha to the Malabu deal.
The EFCC’s report states: “Investigations conducted so far reveal a cloudy scene associated with fraudulent dealings. A prima facie case of conspiracy, breach of trust, theft anmd [sic] money laundering can be established against some real and artificial persons.” Officially, the EFCC’s investigation is still open, but a source familiar with it says that its sleuths have been discouraged by higher-ups from moving forward. However, other countries’ fraudbusters have taken an interest. At least one of the parties involved in the oil-block sale has been contacted by America’s Department of Justice.
As for the legal actions brought in London against Malabu by the middlemen, the High Court is expected to rule soon on Mr Obi’s claim for $200m. Mr Agaev’s separate arbitration case, in which he sought payment of a $65.5m “success fee”, was recently settled behind closed doors.
Shell and ENI now each own half of an attractive oil block. To get it, however, they have had to strike a deal that brings with it reputational and legal risks. They might conceivably face action under their home countries’ anti-corruption laws, if enforcers reject their claim to have dealt only with the Nigerian government, not Malabu. Shell “would obviously have preferred to secure OPL245 without going within a million miles of Malabu and Etete,” says someone who was involved in the negotiations.
The saga is a striking example of an ethical dilemma that is growing more acute for international oil companies. They are desperate to replace their shrinking reserves with new finds, but many of the most attractive fields are in unstable or poorly governed places. Worse, the industry has to contend with increased resource nationalism in oil-producing countries, making it harder for outsiders to secure reserves, and with greater competition from state-owned firms in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, which may not have to operate to the same ethical standards.
As a result, firms that refuse to touch any deal with the slightest whiff of impropriety risk eventually going out of business, says Peter Hughes, an energy consultant and former BP executive. They may feel that the best they can do, short of walking away, is to put as much distance as possible between them and the source of the bad smell, as Shell and ENI apparently tried to do with their two-part transaction.
How arm’s-length is arm’s-length enough? That depends on the company’s “threshold of ambiguity”, says Cory Harvey of Control Risks, which helps companies to manage political and reputational risk. This will vary from company to company and will be perceived differently by management, regulators and NGOs. Ms Harvey has seen oil-industry clients walk away from deals because of concerns about the reputation of, or lack of reliable information on, a seller or local partner. But energy transactions in difficult places can be “spectacularly complex”, she says, making it hard to gauge the acceptable level of risk. Nigeria is “arguably the most complex environment of all”.
Mr Hughes argues that when foreign companies turn a blind eye to questionable aspects of a deal, it can sometimes benefit developing countries with natural resources. The publicly traded oil majors are, on balance, a force for good, raising overall standards of behaviour by trying to operate as cleanly as possible in most circumstances, he says; better that than leaving the field to less scrupulous operators. Ethically speaking, the industry “has to be viewed in relative, not absolutist, terms,” he argues. Mr Hughes points out that Shell periodically talks of scaling back its Nigerian operations, which he believes to be “part of a political-risk management strategy” to exert pressure on the government to act more cleanly and predictably.
Global Witness prefers to see the OPL245 affair as “a lesson in corruption” that demonstrates how important it is for rich-world governments to press on with transparency initiatives, on two fronts. The first front concerns payments to governments. In the past year America and the EU have begun to require resources firms listed there, and large unlisted firms in the EU, to report, project-by-project, their payments to governments. Had this been in force at the time, it would have picked up the $1.3 billion transaction with Nigeria. This would have prompted public scrutiny of the deal and the subsequent money flows through Malabu, which in the end came to light only because the two middlemen decided to sue.
Shell says it favours greater transparency, if applied globally. It opposes the existing project-by-project initiatives because they omit companies not listed in America or Europe, thereby handing them a competitive advantage.
The second front for improving transparency concerns the use of murky corporate vehicles. Hopes are growing that the G8, which meets next week with Britain’s David Cameron in the chair, will take steps towards ending the use of anonymous shell companies. Had corporate registries been collecting, and making publicly available, information on beneficial owners back in 1998, the identity of Malabu’s owners might have been clear from the start. And it would have been much more difficult to move the proceeds of the sale to Shell and ENI into the corporate equivalent of a black hole, seemingly out of the reach even of Nigeria’s anti-corruption commission.
We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide. And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide. But we don’t have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night. A possibility might be “terracide” from the Latin word for earth. It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.
The truth is, whatever we call them, it’s time to talk bluntly about the terrarists of our world. Yes, I know, 9/11 was horrific. Almost 3,000 dead, massive towers down, apocalyptic scenes. And yes, when it comes to terror attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings weren’t pretty either. But in both cases, those who committed the acts paid for or will pay for their crimes.
In the case of the terrarists — and here I’m referring in particular to the men who run what may be the most profitable corporations on the planet, giant energy companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell — you’re the one who’s going to pay, especially your children and grandchildren. You can take one thing for granted: not a single terrarist will ever go to jail, and yet they certainly knew what they were doing.
It wasn’t that complicated. In recent years, the companies they run have been extracting fossil fuels from the Earth in ever more frenetic and ingenious ways. The burning of those fossil fuels, in turn, has put record amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Only this month, the CO2 level reached 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. A consensus of scientists has long concluded that the process was warming the world and that, if the average planetary temperature rose more than two degrees Celsius, all sorts of dangers could ensue, including seas rising high enough to inundate coastal cities, increasingly intense heat waves, droughts, floods, ever more extreme storm systems, and so on.
How to make staggering amounts of money and do in the planet
None of this was exactly a mystery. It’s in the scientific literature. NASA scientist James Hansen first publicized the reality of global warming to Congress in 1988. It took a while — thanks in part to the terrarists — but the news of what was happening increasingly made it into the mainstream. Anybody could learn about it.
Those who run the giant energy corporations knew perfectly well what was going on and could, of course, have read about it in the papers like the rest of us. And what did they do? They put their money into funding think tanks, politicians, foundations, and activists intent on emphasizing “doubts” about the science (since it couldn’t actually be refuted); they and their allies energetically promoted what came to be known as climate denialism. Then they sent their agents and lobbyists and money into the political system to ensure that their plundering ways would not be interfered with. And in the meantime, they redoubled their efforts to get ever tougher and sometimes “dirtier” energy out of the ground in ever tougher and dirtier ways.
The peak oil people hadn’t been wrong when they suggested years ago that we would soon hit a limit in oil production from which decline would follow. The problem was that they were focused on traditional or “conventional” liquid oil reserves obtained from large reservoirs in easy-to-reach locations on land or near to shore. Since then, the big energy companies have invested a remarkable amount of time, money, and (if I can use that word) energy in the development of techniques that would allow them to recover previously unrecoverable reserves (sometimes by processes that themselves burn striking amounts of fossil fuels): fracking, deep-water drilling, and tar-sands production, among others.
They also began to go after huge deposits of what energy expert Michael Klare calls “extreme” or “tough” energy — oil and natural gas that can only be acquired through the application of extreme force or that requires extensive chemical treatment to be usable as a fuel. In many cases, moreover, the supplies being acquired like heavy oil and tar sands are more carbon-rich than other fuels and emit more greenhouse gases when consumed. These companies have even begun using climate change itself — in the form of a melting Arctic — to exploit enormous and previously unreachable energy supplies. With the imprimatur of the Obama administration, Royal Dutch Shell, for example, has been preparing to test out possible drilling techniques in the treacherous waters off Alaska.
Call it irony, if you will, or call it a nightmare, but Big Oil evidently has no qualms about making its next set of profits directly off melting the planet. Its top executives continue to plan their futures (and so ours), knowing that their extremely profitable acts are destroying the very habitat, the very temperature range that for so long made life comfortable for humanity.
Their prior knowledge of the damage they are doing is what should make this a criminal activity. And there are corporate precedents for this, even if on a smaller scale. The lead industry, the asbestos industry, and the tobacco companies all knew the dangers of their products, made efforts to suppress the information or instill doubt about it even as they promoted the glories of what they made, and went right on producing and selling while others suffered and died.
And here’s another similarity: with all three industries, the negative results conveniently arrived years, sometimes decades, after exposure and so were hard to connect to it. Each of these industries knew that the relationship existed. Each used that time-disconnect as protection. One difference: if you were a tobacco, lead, or asbestos exec, you might be able to ensure that your children and grandchildren weren’t exposed to your product. In the long run, that’s not a choice when it comes to fossil fuels and CO2, as we all live on the same planet (though it’s also true that the well-off in the temperate zones are unlikely to be the first to suffer).
If Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 plane hijackings or the Tsarnaev brothers’ homemade bombs constitute terror attacks, why shouldn’t what the energy companies are doing fall into a similar category (even if on a scale that leaves those events in the dust)? And if so, then where is the national security state when we really need it? Shouldn’t its job be to safeguard us from terrarists and terracide as well as terrorists and their destructive plots?
The alternatives that weren’t
It didn’t have to be this way.
On July 15, 1979, at a time when gas lines, sometimes blocks long, were a disturbing fixture of American life, President Jimmy Carter spoke directly to the American people on television for 32 minutes, calling for a concerted effort to end the country’s oil dependence on the Middle East. “To give us energy security,” he announced,
“I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation’s history to develop America’s own alternative sources of fuel — from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun… Just as a similar synthetic rubber corporation helped us win World War II, so will we mobilize American determination and ability to win the energy war. Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation’s first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20% of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.”
It’s true that, at a time when the science of climate change was in its infancy, Carter wouldn’t have known about the possibility of an overheating world, and his vision of “alternative energy” wasn’t exactly a fossil-fuel-free one. Even then, shades of today or possibly tomorrow, he was talking about having “more oil in our shale alone than several Saudi Arabias.” Still, it was a remarkably forward-looking speech.
Had we invested massively in alternative energy R&D back then, who knows where we might be today? Instead, the media dubbed it the “malaise speech,” though the president never actually used that word, speaking instead of an American “crisis of confidence.” While the initial public reaction seemed positive, it didn’t last long. In the end, the president’s energy proposals were essentially laughed out of the room and ignored for decades.
As a symbolic gesture, Carter had 32 solar panels installed on the White House. (“A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people: harnessing the power of the sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”) As it turned out, “a road not taken” was the accurate description. On entering the Oval Office in 1981, Ronald Reagan caught the mood of the era perfectly. One of his first acts was to order the removal of those panels and none were reinstalled for three decades, until Barack Obama was president.
Carter would, in fact, make his mark on U.S. energy policy, just not quite in the way he had imagined. Six months later, on January 23, 1980, in his last State of the Union Address, he would proclaim what came to be known as the Carter Doctrine: “Let our position be absolutely clear,” he said. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
No one would laugh him out of the room for that. Instead, the Pentagon would fatefully begin organizing itself to protect U.S. (and oil) interests in the Persian Gulf on a new scale and America’s oil wars would follow soon enough. Not long after that address, it would start building up a Rapid Deployment Force in the Gulf that would in the end become U.S. Central Command. More than three decades later, ironies abound: thanks in part to those oil wars, whole swaths of the energy-rich Middle East are in crisis, if not chaos, while the big energy companies have put time and money into a staggeringly fossil-fuel version of Carter’s “alternative” North America. They’ve focused on shale oil, and on shale gas as well, and with new production methods, they are reputedly on the brink of turning the United States into a “new Saudi Arabia.”
If true, this would be the worst, not the best, of news. In a world where what used to pass for good news increasingly guarantees a nightmarish future, energy “independence” of this sort means the extraction of ever more extreme energy, ever more carbon dioxide heading skyward, and ever more planetary damage in our collective future. This was not the only path available to us, or even to Big Oil.
With their staggering profits, they could have decided anywhere along the line that the future they were ensuring was beyond dangerous. They could themselves have led the way with massive investments in genuine alternative energies (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, algal, and who knows what else), instead of the exceedingly small-scale ones they made, often for publicity purposes. They could have backed a widespread effort to search for other ways that might, in the decades to come, have offered something close to the energy levels fossil fuels now give us. They could have worked to keep the extreme-energy reserves that turn out to be surprisingly commonplace deep in the Earth.
And we might have had a different world (from which, by the way, they would undoubtedly have profited handsomely). Instead, what we’ve got is the equivalent of a tobacco company situation, but on a planetary scale. To complete the analogy, imagine for a moment that they were planning to produce even more prodigious quantities not of fossil fuels but of cigarettes, knowing what damage they would do to our health. Then imagine that, without exception, everyone on Earth was forced to smoke several packs of them a day.
If that isn’t a terrorist — or terrarist — attack of an almost unimaginable sort, what is? If the oil execs aren’t terrarists, then who is? And if that doesn’t make the big energy companies criminal enterprises, then how would you define that term?
To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide?
[Note: Thanks go to my colleague and friend Nick Turse for coming up with the word “terracide.”]
Copy of correspondence between John Donovan and Michael Crothers Managing Director SEPIL / Venture Manager Corrib at Shell Exploration and Production Ireland which makes good reading.
What a tenacious man Donovan is I hope he keeps it up
At that point, when you send a letter in your name knowing that it designed to deceive, you have lost your integrity and join previous Shell senior executives, such as Jeroen van der Veer, who also gave in to the dark side of Shell. Bill Campbell, the retired HSE Group Auditor of Shell International has confirmed that the same internal investigation smokescreen was used in respect of the Brent Bravo deaths scandal.
From: John Donovan <email@example.com>
Subject: OSSL DEBACLE
Date: 10 June 2013 09:32:04 GMT+01:00
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, “firstname.lastname@example.org COMPANY” <email@example.com>
Dear Mr Crothers
As you will recall, the subject of the correspondence was OSSL, the company formally employed as a “Mr Fixit” by Shell E&P Ireland Limited.
Clare Daly kindly contacted you on my behalf.
I passed a copy of your response on to the owners of OSSL because I knew they would be interested in what you have been saying behind their backs.
Basically you have fallen back on the same cover-up formula previously used in other Shell scandals – the allegations have been fully investigated on an independent basis internally by Shell and no evidence found to support them – in this case allegations that Shell has corrupted the Irish Police Force by plying hundreds of officers with free booze.
This cover-up formula is a disreputable devious device. Shell employees investigate allegations against Shell management and amazingly clear Shell management of any wrongdoing. No independent party involved in the investigation and no genuinely independent oversight. How likely is it that any Shell employee would imperial their career at Shell by telling Shell management something it does not wish to hear?
There is no outright lie and no outright denial, but instead a statement that an independent internal investigation found no evidence to support the allegations. This whitewashing process allows a scandal to be covered up. To me, that degree of machination almost seems worse than an outright lie. The end result is a letter issued in your name, but no doubt drafted by sleazy lawyers that completely deceives the recipient into believing that Shell is innocent, when in fact Shell is guilty.
At that point, when you send a letter in your name knowing that it designed to deceive, you have lost your integrity and join previous Shell senior executives, such as Jeroen van der Veer, who also gave in to the dark side of Shell.
Bill Campbell, the retired HSE Group Auditor of Shell International has confirmed that the same internal investigation smokescreen was used in respect of the Brent Bravo deaths scandal.
I recall another example when Shell carried out an internal investigation of threats made against my family. Shell naturally cleared itself of any wrongdoing on that occasion, only to be subsequently caught red-handed in an undercover operation targeting my family and me. My lawyers cornered Shell UK into a written admission at director level.
Hence my total lack of faith in any internal investigation carried out by Shell. It is nothing but a smoke and mirrors device to cover-up the truth. An absolute charade in which key witnesses/parties have no involvement and are not even approached.
You appear to be another victim of Shell’s corruption of the integrity of senior people within the company. When you first became aware of how OSSL had been disgracefully used to carry out underhand and probably criminal activities on behalf of Shell, not just corrupting the police, you appeared to be genuinely sympathetic.
You met personally with the owners of OSSL. You gave them a letter of endorsement.
You were the good cop, while others issued threats against OSSL on Shell’s behalf.
At 12.26 on 22 May 2012, OSSL sent you an email. It mentioned your alleged admittance that Shell had shut down OSSL abruptly, without notice and immorally. It detailed a threat OSSL had allegedly received from a party acting for Shell in relation to the supply of large amounts of alcohol to the Irish Police Force and related falsification of invoices.
22 Minutes later you personally sent a reply.
“I did not say that “Shell shut down your company immorally”. I was careful to say that I personally felt some moral obligation to try to find a way to find a settlement, hence the without prejudice offer that was made.”
Significantly, you did not take issue with or make any denial in respect of the statements about the threat to OSSL, the large amounts of alcohol showered on the Irish Police, nor on the related disguised invoices.
Why, because you and the party to which you were sending your reply – OSSL – knew they were true.
Your letter of 28 May 2013 also contains detailed disapproving and possibly defamatory comments about OSSL and its vigorous campaign seeking redress from Shell. I have been pleased to assist OSSL in that regard.
I believe that most independent people reading the content of your letter dated 28 May 2013 would conclude that OSSL has been demanding money on false grounds and in the process, has engaged in wide-scale distasteful harassment.
In fact, it is your letter that is disgrace because it is designed to convey a false impression that Shell is innocent of these serious charges, when the reverse is the case, and you know it.
What we have is a two page letter designed to deceive the reader, when, if Shell was honest and had been falsely accused, an unambiguous rebuttal could have been made in a single short paragraph.
The allegations against Shell are completely false. OSSL has not distributed any alcohol to the Garda on our behalf. Shell has not made any threats directly or indirectly against OSSL. No invoices has been falsified on Shell’s instructions.
Sadly, you are now part of the cover-up of Shell’s large-scale corruption of the Irish Police Force.
I wonder where your auditors would stand on the matter of proper books of account on which they are legally obliged to express an opinion; were the auditors made aware of OSSL’s allegations of non-payment for the supply of goods and services and falsification of related invoices and in particular, where there is an allegation of tax fraud and corrupt inducement of the law enforcement arm of the state, did your auditors consider their reporting obligations in relation to such matters?
You make reference in your letter to ‘excessive tax withholding’ – what was the nature of the tax withheld?
Let me repeat without any protective legal preamble: Shell EP Ireland has engaged in widespread corruption of the Irish Police in relation to the controversial Corrib Gas Project, which is billions over budget and hopelessly delayed.
You have fallen far in accusing OSSL of activities tantamount to blackmail, harassment and lies, bearing in mind what you have not disclosed to Clare Daly about the current situation.
I was sympathetic to your predicament and made it plain in published articles that you had inherited a toxic mess. Unfortunately you have allowed yourself to become drawn into the mire.
I intend to publish this email tomorrow under the headline – “The integrity of Shell EP Ireland CEO Michael Crothers” – subject to any legal intervention by Shell.
I will happily publish on an unedited basis any comment you may wish to make.
One thing I know you will not provide is an outright denial along the lines suggested above.
Why not, for the sake of your own conscience, stop this cover-up dead in its tracks before it is too late?
There are too many people involved to keep the lid on this huge scandal that will likely rock the foundations of the Irish establishment.
ONLY AN AUTOMATED RESPONSE RECEIVED THUS FAR FROM MR CROTHERS – NOTHING FURTHER AS OF POSTING AT 2PM UK TIME ON 11 JUNE 2013. MR CROTHERS/SHELL WILL SURELY TAKE LEGAL ACTION UNLESS SHELL ACCEPTS, AS IT APPEARS TO DO, THAT WHAT I HAVE STATED ON THIS MATTER IS FACT.