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Questions raised over impartiality of Shell’s auditor as it emerges they also worked for takeover rival BG Group

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Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28By LAURA CHESTERS FOR THE DAILY MAILPUBLISHED: 22:53, 24 May 2016

Royal Dutch Shell is facing allegations that the firm which signs off its accounts is not impartial.

A leading investor yesterday raised concerns that EY, which has been appointed as auditor of the oil supermajor, had a conflict of interest because it had checked the books of BG Group ahead of its £36billion merger with Shell.

Standard Life, which raised the objection, said it had it had already voiced concerns about conflicts of interest at the Shell annual general meeting last year and said that it voted against the appointment this year and was ‘disappointed’ with Shell’s decision to select EY.

Shell also faced anger over pay at its AGM yesterday with Royal London Asset Management criticising the size of boss Ben van Beurden’s pay package.

The chief executive received £4.3million total package for the year despite profits having fallen 80 per cent to £2.6billion and more than 10,000 job cuts at the group.

Ashley Hamilton Claxton, corporate governance manager at Royal London Asset Management, said: ‘The senior executive pay awards last year are not sufficiently justified by the company’s financial performance.

‘We remain disappointed that the chief executive received very close to the maximum possible bonus in a year when overall financial performance was weak.’

However, more than 85 per cent voted in favour of the payout, which was an 8 per cent salary cut compared with the previous year.

And despite the Standard Life protest Shell said more than 92 per cent of shareholders supported the appointment of the auditor.

A Shell spokesman said: ‘EY was appointed as Shell’s auditor for the financial year 2016 following an extensive competitive tender, in line with industry best practice. We have full confidence in EY’s suitability for the role.’

Shareholders at its annual meeting in The Hague in Holland also raised environmental concerns about its operations.

Last month rival oil firm BP faced a shareholder revolt over the £14million payout to boss Bob Dudley. His 20 per cent pay hike were rejected by almost 60 per cent of its shareholders.

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