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By John Donovan of

Although this story relates to events that occurred years ago, it reveals the hypocrisy of two people at the top of Shell, Malcolm Brinded and Richard Wiseman.

Both have made speeches proclaiming the importance of Shell’s General Business Principles pledging honesty, integrity and transparency in all of Shell’s dealings.

Wiseman stated in an anti-corruption speech:

“A reputation for integrity is a priceless asset which can vanish or be severely tarnished by a single error of judgment. Shell Core Values: Honesty, Integrity and Respect for People underpin everything we do and are the foundation of our Shell General Business Principles.”

Our dealings with Brinded and Wiseman arose from a series of High Court actions we brought against Shell UK. They resulted from the activities of a dishonest Shell manager, AJL, intent on setting up his own business inside Shell to exploit his position as National Promotions manager.

AJL cheated many companies who trusted Shell, perhaps lulled by the claimed code of business ethics. He ruthlessly drew them into a Machiavellian “SMART” contract tender plot masterminded by him, involving a conspiracy of Shell managers. Deception was used to steal intellectual property from companies and delay disclosure to Shell’s rivals.

AJL set out his unscrupulous plans in documents, some in his own handwriting. He funnelled confidential information gained from unsuspecting companies under false pretences, to an agency with whom he had a special relationship.

His mind set was evident from an incriminating email relating to the same project that he circulated to Shell colleagues.

Extract: “NB: To answer your last point: My note of 25/10 is the official position, my note of 9/9 expressed a personal and pragmatic view of how to handle the problem – it is in fact illegal and is certainly unofficial, and if we were discovered then we will enforce the official legal position – which is that all volume must currently be rewarded with promotional points”.

The SMART contract was miraculously awarded to the agency AJL had a special relationship with. They had not even run in the contract race. AJL had a close private relationship with its senior directors. His diaries show that he also had an offshore bank account in the Channel Islands (Jersey) into which undisclosed payments were made.

As far as we could tell, all confidential ideas disclosed to AJL and subsequently adopted by Shell were channelled to this same favoured agency. This included a series of proposals we disclosed to AJL in strictest confidence.

Never guessing that his hand-written diary entries would be exposed to scrutiny in a High Court case, AJL made entries which revealed that he was a disgruntled employee and was intent to “Set up personal business while @ Shell 35 yrs = exit date.” It was his apparent objective to exploit his position to create enough personal wealth to exit Shell at the age of 35.

Despite being aware of the extraordinary background evidence, Shell’s most senior management, including Malcolm Brinded and Wiseman, gave their unstinting support to AJL even after his treacherous behaviour was exposed.

Both of these senior Shell people gave higher priority to a thoroughly dishonest Shell manager who masterminded a corrupted tender process, than to the Shell code of business ethics, the Statement of General Business Principles.

Published by John Donovan of
Email address for leaked Shell docs: [email protected]

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