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Daily Mail: FSA halts probe into ex-Shell boss Watts: An internal FSA committee overruled the watchdog's enforcement arm and dropped the case.": Posted Friday 11 November 2005

 

By Brian O'Connor

 

FORMER Shell boss Sir Philip Watts had his best day since being ousted in last year's reserves fiasco when the Financial Services Authority dropped all proceedings against him and other executives.

 

An internal FSA committee overruled the watchdog's enforcement arm and dropped the case.

 

The U-turn followed an 18-month investigation begun by FSA head of enforcement Andrew Proctor and continued by his successor Margaret Cole. Asked if it was a setback, the FSA said: 'This is the way the system works.'

 

The FSA said its enquiries 'into the roles of certain individuals in the mis-statement of Shell's hydrocarbon reserves had reached a conclusion and the FSA will be taking no further action'.

 

Speaking through his lawyers Herbert Smith, he said the FSA decision 'vindicates' his position 'that he acted properly and in good faith at all times'.

 

US watchdog the SEC is still investigating his role, and he is named in some of the US lawsuits against Shell. But the biggest cases have been settled.

 

Watts left with a 1.06m payoff, kept some share options and qualified for a 468,540 pension in June.

Shell's annual report says Watts and ex-finance director Judith Boynton were 'entitled to the reimbursement of litigation costs under certain circumstances'.

 

The former Shell executive says he acted properly and in good faith at all times.

 

THE LEGAL FALLOUT

 

Shell investigations/lawsuits

US Dept of Justice (settled)

US Securities & Exchange Commission (70m fine) 

UK Financial Services Authority (17m fine)

Netherlands regulator (no action)

US class action (settled)

US derivative action (settled)

US securities class action (pending)

Euronext (pending)

California Dept of Corporations (pending)

 

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