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London Evening Standard: Tribunal setback for Shell ex-chief: FORMER Shell chairman Sir Philip Watts has suffered a major setback in a bid to restore his battered reputation. Tuesday 13 September 2005

 

Nick Goodway,

 

FORMER Shell chairman Sir Philip Watts has suffered a major setback in a bid to restore his battered reputation.

 

He had claimed the Financial Services Authority blackened his name by association in its report on how the oil giant had massively overstated its reserves.

 

Watts, who was not named in the report but was clearly referred to, claimed the watchdog should have given him the right to defend himself against the allegations.

 

But the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal today dismissed his case, saying it agreed with the FSA that, while Watts was identifiable in the 'matter' of the Shell case, he was not actually identified in the notice issued by the FSA.

 

Shell agreed to pay a 17m fine for overstating its reserves. The FSA is still taking separate action against Watts and would not comment further today, other than to say that it welcomed 'the clarification of the law in relation to the rights of third parties'.

 

The Watts case had major implications for the FSA. In particular, it threatened cases in which it investigates a company and individual directors. If the FSA had lost, it would have had to proceed with such parallel cases at the same speed, instead of dealing rapidly with the corporate body before moving against individuals.

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