Royal Dutch Shell Group .com
ShellNews.net: ALMOST 2 YRS AFTER THE RESERVES FRAUD, SHELL’S
REPUTATION IS STILL RANKED IN THE CORPORATE GUTTER ALONGSIDE ENRON: "Sir Philip
must qualify as the worlds greatest conman having pulled off a multi-billion
dollar scam while retaining an $18 million dollar payoff/pension pot"
December 2005: 05.25am EST
RANKED 54 OUT OF 60 COMPANIES IN HARRIS INTERACTIVE REPUTATION STUDY PUBLISHED
IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
New York Times published a report today under the headline: “New Surveys Show
That Big Business Has a P.R. Problem”. John D. Hofmeister, who runs the United
States operations of Shell Oil Company, is quoted as saying: "This is a
challenging time for big corporations". The modern feeling, he said, is "big is
bad." That certainly appears to be the overwhelming public and stakeholder
perception of Royal Dutch Shell.
President, Shell Oil Company
This incidentally is the same John Hofmeister who posted a message on the “Tell
Shell Forum” a few years ago applauding and encouraging its policy of open
uncensored debate. I wonder what his thinking is now, after the facility has
been suspended following exposure by me and other Tell Shell contributors of
Shell’s secret censorship of postings by Shell employees? An innovative medium
to encourage feedback has been ruined because Shell senior management does not
want to hear the truth. Shell General Counsel Richard Wiseman confirmed to me by
email last month that Shell has been censoring postings on the site.
why Shell’s reputation (and employee morale) has sunk so low
9 January 2004 the bombshell news about the reserves fraud broke and negative
news about the scandal inundated the media on a continuing basis with the
sackings of senior executives, regulatory and criminal investigations, class
action law suits, followed eventually by multimillion dollar fines and
4 July 2004, The Sunday Observer published a company reputation assessment
carried out by Thomson Intermedia. The survey and article (see link below) were
based on monitoring company news in every UK national newspaper on a daily
basis. It ranked the top ten brands/companies with the highest reputation and at
the other extreme, the 10 “Worst”. No prizes for guessing Shell’s ranking; the
Worst of the Worst.
The Observer: Bad publicity - not
goodbye, but good buy: “Shell illustrates how a steady barrage of negative
publicity can bring a company to its knees”: “The company's reputation is now in
tatters”: "We list the latest batch of leaders and laggards in the corporate
publicity league in the accompanying table. These rankings are based upon news
reports in the last three months. The current '10 worst' list is led by Shell."
publication of the Thomas Intermedia survey happened to coincide, almost to the
day, with the launch by Shell of a defamation suit against Shell whistleblower
Dr John Huong, a Shell geologist who had worked diligently for the company for
29 years. Dr Huong’s falling out with Shell management stemmed back to his
decision to place on record, in a Shell internal document, his conscience drive
concern about safety issues and the fabrication of reserves volume for the
Kinabalu oil field where he was the production geologist. Dr Huong blew the
whistle internally at Shell at a time when such deceit in regards to reserves
reporting had only just started. That was in 1997. History might have been very
different if Shell management had listened.
6 December 2005, The Wall Street Journal published the results of a corporate
reputation study of 60 major companies by Harris Interactive. They confirm that
Shell’s reputation remains in the corporate gutter literally ranked alongside
the likes of Enron.
Instead of dealing properly with the reserves volume, Asset integrity and safety
issues exposed by Dr Huong, Shell management preferred to turn a blind eye.
Shell did the same in respect of other misdeeds happening elsewhere, including
the theft of intellectual property, health and safety shortcuts which put lives
at risk and a rigged tendering process. In the latter case, companies were
deliberately cheated by Shell in accordance with a cunning premeditated plan to
deceive participants who thought they had reached a final short list stage in a
major contract tender.
Small Shell shareholders and Shell dealers have also been adversely affected by
Shell management misdeeds. The same applies to North American consumers who
purchased tainted Shell gasoline and people living in many locations in the
world which have been polluted by Shell’s operations e.g. Port Arthur in Texas
and the Nigerian Delta.
consequences of such a blatantly unscrupulous corporate culture brought about by
a Shell management famed for its arrogance and denial has inflicted incalculable
lasting damage to Shell’s reputation as the reputation surveys confirm.
there any real prospect of a turnaround when many of the same management figures
tainted by the reserves fraud and other scandals and debacles, such as the
massive Sakhalin II cost overrun, are still at the helm of Royal Dutch Shell
With regards to Sakhalin, we have on the one hand President Putin slamming Shell
for letting the costs spiral out of control and on the other, an eminent
scientist, Professor Richard Steiner from the University of Alaska marine
advisory programme, resigning from the mega-project after branding Shell
management as “clever, stubborn rascals”
Unfortunately Shell management still appears to exist in a fantasy land where
logic, fact and basic human decency are perverted. It prefers hype, spin,
deceit, intimidation, victimization and turning a blind eye to wrongdoing which
suits Shell’s profitability and purposes i.e. safety shortcuts.
There is no better example of this type of unscrupulous corporate culture than
the disgraceful conduct of Shell management in Malaysia under its ruthlessly
ambitious Country Chairman, “Datuk” Jon Chadwick, ultimately responsible for the
persecution of Dr Huong.
FLAWED DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST DR HUONG
Shell’s case against Dr Huong is based mainly on his
“the website known as Whistleblower No2”.
Shell allegations were in fact about information published on my website by me
(and my son John) under the name of Dr Huong. The court papers submitted by
Shell alleged that:
"These posting were done on the website known as “Shell Whistleblower No. 2”
which is accessible from the Internet anywhere, including Malaysia."
are the facts, as opposed to the way Shell lawyers have deliberately twisted the
one, other than my son, John and me has ever posted anything on our website:
www.shell2004.com. Unlike Shell’s “Tell Shell Forum” (now suspended as
mentioned above in the face of criticism of its censorship policies) we have
never had a “blog” facility on our site. Hence it was impossible for Dr Huong to
make any posting on our site as Shell’s court papers falsely allege.
Consequently Dr Huong, a Malaysian national, had to supply drafts by email which
John and I translated into readable English. Perhaps "translated" is too strong
a term - readers can find at the foot of this article an example (from our
archives) of an email sent by Dr Huong to Sir Philip Watts and other Shell
managers in July 2003. Some of the content is ironic e.g. Dr Huong seeking an
assurance about compliance with Shell's ethical code at a time when Sir Philip
was busy filing Form F-20 returns to the US Securities & Exchange
Commission containing inflated reserves figures. (Sir Philip must qualify as the
worlds greatest conman having pulled off a multi-billion dollar scam while
retaining an $18 million dollar payoff/pension pot).
It is clear from his email that Dr Huong is a highly intelligent
individual. However he accepted our invitation (insistence) on rewriting the
draft material he submitted. Dr Huong relied on our judgment of what was
suitable for publication on our website in terms of legality and otherwise.
After speaking to him for hours by
telephone we inserted into the articles our interpretation of the themes and
conclusions that we believed he wished to convey. We were the sole editors and
publishers of the relevant articles. Thus although the finished articles were
very much a collaborative effort involving three individuals, my son and me, not
Dr Huong, were responsible for the final published versions.
With the greatest respect to Dr Huong, we note that most of the comments cited
in the Shell legal documents as being defamatory were originated by us, not by
Dr Huong. They were either quotes taken from articles previously authored and
published by us (without any legal action from Shell) or were original
commentaries written by us arising from the discussions with Dr Huong.
Huong relied on us as the publishers to post whatever we deemed to be legal and
proper. It was entirely our decision, not his, on what was published on our site
– a website over which he had no control or responsibility.
There has never been any website with the URL: Shell “Whistleblower No. 2”.
Shell lawyers were well aware of the various Shell related domain names used by
our website, as became evident when they filed proceedings against me via the
World Intellectual Property Organization in May 2005. They never cited the
domain name “Shell Whistleblower No. 2” because no such domain name or website
has ever existed. Far from complaining about the above alleged defamatory
statements STILL published on the SAME website despite the Malaysian High Court
Injunction and Restraining Order, Shell stated in writing in its submission to
the WIPO that I am entitled to express my opinions and criticize Shell:“The...
Group... have been aware of the site since the beginning and whilst they would
not endorse or agree with many of the comments made by the Respondent on the
website, they have taken the view that the Respondent is entitled to express his
opinions and to use the Internet as a medium for doing so."
deliberately misled the Malaysian High Court by pretending that it was possible
for Dr Huong to post his articles on a website called "Whistleblower No. 2"
which has never existed. All because it does not wish to face my
son and I in the libel courts. The following is an extract from a press
statement released by Shell over 10 years ago (17 March 1995): -
past few months Mr John Donovan, the Managing Director of Don Marketing Limited,
and his father, Mr Alfred Donovan, have conducted a publicity campaign connected
with legal actions which Don Marketing has initiated against Shell U.K. Limited.
and the so called pressure group have repeatedly attempted to goad Shell into
issuing proceedings against them for what they are doing. Shell has to date
declined to do so.
Any regular reader visitor to this
website will probably be astonished at our candid commentary about Shell and
perhaps wonder why Shell management has not taken action against us in the libel
courts, but instead has preferred to apply pressure by proxy i.e. Dr John Huong.
The reason is that we have a mass of documentary evidence which confirms the
deeply ingrained culture of cover-up and deceit which resulted in the reserves
fraud and other scandals which have destroyed Shell reputation. There is
no libel if what is stated is the truth.
Even after over 18 months have past, Shell has taken no action against the
English owners (my son and I) of the website responsible for co-authoring,
editing and publishing the alleged defamatory comments. Indeed, the above
statement by Shell to the WIPO must include the comments which are the subject
of the litigation against Dr Huong. So apparently it is one rule for Englishman
(my son and I) and another for former colonials, such as a Malaysian national.
view of the facts, as opposed to the twisting of the truth by a Shell Malaysian
management determined on pursuing a vendetta against Dr Huong, Shell should
bring an action against my son and I in the appropriate jurisdiction. If the
published commentary is defamatory, which is denied -then we are far more
responsible than Dr Huong. Without our extensive involvement on the basis
described above the relevant articles would not have been published. We have a
volume of evidence gathered over nearly a decade to support the comments made
about Shell. In any event, our testimony in the form of witness statements and
our documentary evidence will be made available to Dr Huong.
OF SHELL’S LIBEL LAWSUIT AGAINST DR HUONG
Court hearings regarding Shell’s case against Dr Huong were held on 2nd & 6th
in Kuala Lumpur. Shell launched proceedings against him in the High Court of
Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, despite knowing that he lives 1300 kilometers away in
Miri. In fact Dr Huong has lived in Miri for his entire life and worked at
Shell’s offices in Miri. It is only a 5 kilometer journey from his home to the
Miri High Court.
Huong was understandably unable to attend the hearings in Kuala Lumpur because
of the considerable costs involved– plane flights, hotels etc. Money is short
because he has been unable to obtain alternative employment in his area of
expertise while the Shell litigation hangs over his head. Shell has no problem
with money. It is rolling in cash from record high oil prices and is apparently
prepared to spend as much as it takes of shareholder money to destroy Dr Huong
irrespective of ethical considerations. Shell has used the same unprincipled
tactics against my son and me.
Shell could have initiated the court proceedings in the Miri High Court but did
so in Kuala Lumpur to put Dr Huong at a major disadvantage.
unreasonable, and incompatible with true justice.
outcome of the hearings is that Dr Huong must file his detailed response to the
Defamation Writ before the question of an appropriate Court location can be
reconsidered by the courts.
Does not Shell management realize how devastatingly bad it looks when EIGHT
Royal Dutch Shell companies have ganged up against a former employee. I have
read Dr Huong’s correspondence with his senior colleagues before he was
dismissed. My perception is that this was a case of an employee being stressed
out by his work and what he considered to be grossly unfair treatment. Instead
of giving him the help, support and reassurance he needed, Shell management did
the exact opposite.
is notable that Dr Huong is far from alone in being a victim of Shell’s spiteful
and inhuman treatment of its employees in Malaysia. There are a number of High
Court cases which have been brought against Shell by groups of former Shell
employees. The litigation is in respect of alleged wrongful deductions from
employee pension funds. In one such High Court Action by 399 former employees, a
Judge has already ruled in a 70 page judgment that Shell acted “UNLAWFULLY” in
making the deductions. Shell is however deliberately dragging out the
litigation, using every legal maneuver available (just as it is with Dr Huong)
despite knowing that many members of the class action groups are elderly, sick
is ironic that we jointly decided to publish in one of the articles now the
subject of the litigation against Dr Huong, extracts from the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
High Court Writ, Injunction & Restraining Order obtained by Shell required
removal of the following extracts: -
Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity
and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards
one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour
and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such
interference or attacks.
Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
_expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference
and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers.
Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of
employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against
lawsuit brought collectively by EIGHT Shell companies puts Shell directly in
contravention of these fundamentally important human rights which it has
purported to support: more blatant hypocrisy on the part of Shell management.
conclusion is that there in no prospect of Shell acting in an ethical humane
manner while the current discredited management with discredited hard-nosed
policies remains in place. It follows that Shell’s reputation is likely to
remain where it belongs, in the corporate gutter.
EXAMPLE EMAIL FROM DR HUONG TO SHELL
MANAGEMENT, JULY 2003 (6 MONTHS BEFORE NEWS OF THE RESERVES FRAUD MADE GLOBAL
Below is an email Shell
lawyers included as Exhibit "TK-9", page 12-14 in the Sworn Affidavit
that Thuvukumar Kandiah Pillai, the Shell Legal Manager made on behalf
of the Eight Shell Companies who sued Dr. John Huong (One UK company,
one Dutch, one Caribbean and five Asian).
From: Johnhu [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 15th July 2003 11:32
To: Chadwick, Jon SHELMSIA-CH/EP;
Gardy, Dominique D SEPI-EPA; Watts, Philip B SI-MGDPW
Subject: Re: Train of Events leading to Termination
I have received an AR registered mail dated 9th July 2003 which was
received yesterday, the 14th July 2003. I am surprised that Rosli Lompoh
was writing to me.
Rosli referred to the recent correspondent I have with you three
Gentlemen and he is not even one of them. Furthermore, I am now a public
While in SMEP,I was called to
abide to the clearly stated Core Values of honesty, integrity,
openness, respect for people, professionalism, trust, etc which were in
harmony with the Shell Group Business Principles and I could not
understand up to now and for so long as to why I was punished and allow
to be punished for doing the very things that SMEP have asked me to do
in my work (ie "Train of Events Leading to Termination”).
The Shell Group governance contains the time-honoured shared values.
However in the implementation this may not be the case. For example, if
I am allowed in Domestic Inquiry (DI) process to have an Assistant to
help me in the DI, then I should not be deprived of that assistance
without good reasons (see testimony attached) that is accorded to me in
the Law of Natural Justice. What do you say when a man lost his entire
career he worked hard to build over the years were destroyed due to adherance to principles he was asked to do? All that Rosli can say was
“I note that you seem upset by your dismissal” when the dismissed
employee was so shattered in his family, Social and Professional life!
When a dismissed employee tries to pull his life together and start
afresh on an honourable job what do you say when he is disturbed and
troubled by more letters of the kind that Rosli sent?
Gentlemen, you are learned and you surely desire to know the truth.
Would you agree with me that the letter of Rosli (attached) when taken
as a whole was actually threatening? Furthermore, here I am without a
job and I am still very stressed in the hope of recovering from
depression resulting from an inconducive workplace environment that I
was subjected to and on the top of it all I have to concentrate in
making a living to feed my family and the worst part of it is getting
threats from Rosli. Good communication builds bridges for a lasting
relationship and there is no need to make threats and be unkind to each
Jon Chadwick, you are the mind and the will of SMEP as MD/Chairman; will
you command Rosli not to threaten me because I am not his employee for
now. Can I commit a crime when I tell the truth everytime to anybody and
anywhere? Now that we are on this subject of truth, can you Jon,
Dominique and the Right Honourable Sir Phil Watts assured and confirmed
for me that the Shell Group will always uphold its stated corporate
culture and shared core values as mentioned above and that you will not
hesitate to take serious actions against any employees within the
company who violate that governance. The transparent and sustainable
philosophy of Shell makes good business sense and I am thinking of
wanting to be a shareholder too.
Thank you very much for your time in listening to me.
Dr. John Huong
STREET JOURNAL: Corporate Reputation Survey:
"Companies with the best and worst
Royal Dutch Shell - No 54 out of 60
OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS: Lowest Percentage of Positive Ratings for
Sincerity: Royal Dutch Shell -
Grouped with Tyco, Halliburton,
WEB SITE RECALL:
Under "Lowest Recall":
Royal Dutch Shell grouped with MCl-WorldCom, Enron
Tuesday 6 December 2005:
WALL STREET JOURNAL:
Ranking Corporate Reputations:
Bottom 10 (Worst Reputations): At 54. Royal Dutch Shell: 55: Tyco
International: 57: Halliburton: 60: Enron: Tuesday 6 December
Disclaimer: 'The author (Alfred Donovan)
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opinions of nor reflect the views of Shell2004.com. Content created by the
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Shell2004.com has no control over the information you access via such links,
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responsible for it or for the consequences of your use of that information.
Alfred Donovan has had business dealings with Shell
stretching back almost 50 years. In the 1980’s & 90’s the sales promotion
company he founded with his son, John (Don Marketing) created and supplied
multimillion dollar national promotions for Shell on an international basis.
He and his son probably hold the world record for suing Shell, having
subsequently brought a series of court actions: five for breach of
confidence or breach of contract, and two for libel. They have never lost a
case against Shell. Details about the litigation are published on
ShellNews.net, the unique website owned by the Donovan’s. It contains the
world’s largest collection of articles, news and reports focused on Royal
Dutch Shell and its activities – astonishingly, over 6,000 web pages. Mr
Donovan own and uses the registration to the dotcom domain name for Shell’s
unified $200 billion (USD) company: Royal Dutch Shell Plc
(royaldutchshellplc.com). Shell made an unsuccessful attempt to seize it by
instituting proceedings via the World Intellectual Property Organisation in
May 2005. A WIPO panel gave a unanimous verdict in favour of Mr Donovan in
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