ShellNews.net: Shell still under heavy fire in US Courts: Latest on US Class Action hearing against Royal Dutch/Shell: Updated 11am Sunday 24 July 2005
By Alfred Donovan
(new third paragraph: updates information on most recent court hearing)
Civil Action 04431 in the US District Court of New Jersey: The Newark Star-Ledger article (link below) reports on a court hearing on the US Class Action Lawsuit brought against Royal Dutch/Shell and named former and current directors, including former Group Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart; the first CEO of Royal Dutch Shell plc - Jeroen van der Veer, and Shell E & P Executive Director, Malcolm Brinded.
New York lawyers Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP are the lead lawyers acting for Pennsylvania State Pension Funds - the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleging that Shell reported "materially false and misleading information" about its reserves and cash flow to boost its stock price, and allegedly engaged in securities fraud,is also brought against Shell auditors/consultants, PriceWaterhouseCoopers & KPMG.
There was a further hearing on Wednesday 13th July before U.S. District Chief Judge John Bissell, when oral arguments were presented. The Judge is expected to make a decision by September on whether the case will proceed.
ShellNews.net has co-cooperated with Mr Steven J. Peitler of Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP for over a year, providing him with information and contacts with potential knowledge/evidence relating to the case. Following the filing of the Amended Complaint, Mr Peitler kindly supplied a copy of the court document for publication on Shell2004.com. Amazingly, several hundred visitors to the website downloaded the relevant files. Mr Peitler said in a subsequent email message (29/09/04): “I am swamped with people calling me after reading the complaint.”
This weekend we have supplied Mr Peitler with extracts from potentially highly salient Shell internal documents left in our safe keeping by a Shell whistle-blower, Dr John Huong. The documents confirm that Dr Huong was a Shell Production Geologist on the Kinabalu and Kebabangan fields who worked for Shell for almost 30 years. One document contains the following question Dr Huong raised with his manager in relation to the Kinabalu field: “Do you want to tell your investors that the volume carried in the ARPR is suspected because a change in reservoir work will be expected! How can we live a day with a free conscience by getting the money from our investors through the 502F when our depositional model work is in question?”
The above incident
related directly to the issue of inflated reserves during the tumultuous so
called “transformation” period of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart's tenure, when the
calamitous decision was allegedly taken by his management to conjure up higher
oil and gas reserve figures. Five “Value Creation Teams” were formed, one of
which was tasked with “creating the maximum value from Shell’s hydrocarbon
reserves.” This was the recipe for the reserves scandal which has destroyed
Dr Huong’s protestations about deceiving shareholders was ignored then and subsequently, even though brought to the attention of successively higher levels of Shell management. His subsequent communications to Malcolm Brinded and Jeroen van der Veer also received no response. Instead, eight Royal Dutch Shell companies collectively obtained a High Court Injunction to silence him. The Injunction remains in force. Dr Huong wisely lodged evidence with the owner of ShellNews.net and other trusted parties before the Injunction because he was deeply concerned about threats made against him by Shell. Dr Huong is suing Shell for wrongful dismissal. Links to relevant news reports are available below.
This July 2005 Newark Star-Ledger article:
Related article May 2004 : http://www.royaldutchshellplc.com/2004%20Documents/newassorted/newarkstar12may.htm
Click here if you have insider information to disclose in confidence about the Shell oil and gas reserves scandal: CIVIL ACTION 04431 IN THE US DISTRICT COURT OF NEW JERSEY AGAINST THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL GROUP AND NAMED FORMER AND CURRENT SHELL DIRECTORS
ShellNews.net: UPDATE, 2 October 04: BERNSTEIN LIEBHARD & LIFSHITZ LLP MULTIBILLION DOLLAR CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, NAMED CURRENT & FORMER DIRECTORS, & SHELL AUDITORS/CONSULTANTS, PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS & KPMG: CIVIL ACTION 04431 IN THE US DISTRICT COURT OF NEW JERSEY:
THE BORNEO POST: Former employee suing Shell: "Dr John Huong, an ex-Shell employee, is suing Shell in the Industrial Court here, alleging that he had been unfairly dismissed by the company." Posted 22 June 2005: Read the article
The Borneo Post: Shell vs Dr John Huong trial adjourned to Nov 15: "Dr Huong, an ex-Shell employee, is suing the company, alleging that he was unfairly dismissed.": "Huong, a geologist by qualification, had worked with Shell for almost 30 years before his dismissal on March 28, 2003." Posted 23 June 2005: Read the article
LEGAL STUFF (NO NEED TO READ UNLESS YOU ARE A SHELL LAWYER, OR SOMEONE WITH A DEEP INTEREST IN SHELL, OR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, OR COPYRIGHT ISSUES)
LEGAL STATEMENT BY THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL GROUP REGARDING THIS WEBSITE: I, Alfred Donovan, would like to remind Shell lawyers that the "group" has placed on record its acknowledgement of my freedom to air my opinions about Shell on ShellNews.net. I did of course already have rights under various freedom of expression conventions and declarations but its nice to know that Shell, one of the multinational rulers of our planet, recognises this fact. The Royal Dutch Shell Group made the following unusual statement in a legal document in regards to this website: - "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." This statement drafted by Shell lawyers and authorised by the "Group", amounts to tacit approval/acceptance/recognition of this website by Shell. It was submitted to The World Intellectual Property Organisation in May 2005 by Shell International Petroleum Company Limited on behalf of the Royal Dutch Shell Group in proceedings against me, Alfred Donovan, as the "Respondent" (owner) of three domain names, including www.royaldutchshellplc.com. It remains a mystery why Shell has taken an entirely different view regarding the fundamental human right to freedom of expression in respect of the former Shell geologist Dr John Huong, the well-known Shell whistle-blower, in relation to postings under his name elsewhere on this same website. Eight companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group collectively obtained a High Court Injunction to silence him. The Injunction remains in force.
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