The Times: FSA seeks to quash Shell boss's 'unfairness' claim: “Shell was judged by the FSA to be guilty of market abuse in announcing false or misleading proven oil and gas reserve figures between 1998 and 2003.”: “A substantive hearing on the fairness of the allegations is something the FSA is likely to be keen to avoid before it has completed its enquiries into the role of individuals involved in the reserves scandal.” (ShellNews.net)
By Carl Mortished
October 19, 2004
THE Financial Services Authority, the City watchdog, is seeking to quash a claim by the former chairman of Shell that it was unfair towards him in its judgment over the oil company’s reserves scandal.
The FSA said yesterday it was seeking a preliminary ruling over Sir Philip Watts’s claim that he was identified and his rights prejudiced in the FSA’s Final Notice, a report issued in August when the regulator fined Shell £17 million for misleading investors over its reserves.
The watchdog, which is seeking a ruling by the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal, said: “We are confident that he was not (prejudiced) and that the tribunal will agree with us. This would mean that the tribunal will have no jurisdiction to consider the other matters which Sir Philip has referred to the tribunal.”
The FSA’s report does not name Sir Philip, but the former Shell boss claims that he was identified in the document without being given an opportunity to see the evidence before publication and rebut the allegations.
Shell was judged by the FSA to be guilty of market abuse in announcing false or misleading proven oil and gas reserve figures between 1998 and 2003. The oil company agreed to pay the fine, the largest ever imposed by the FSA, without admitting the charges.
Sir Philip is also seeking an amendment of the FSA’s ruling, a move which, if successful, could raise questions over evidence used by the FSA in convicting Shell of market abuse.
A substantive hearing on the fairness of the allegations is something the FSA is likely to be keen to avoid before it has completed its enquiries into the role of individuals involved in the reserves scandal. The regulator yesterday hinted that the matter was not concluded.
The FSA said: “We have further enquiries which we are pursuing and we have made no determination whether, if at all, any individual is at fault.
“If and when the need arises, we will ensure that any affected parties are given their full rights.”