SEC clears Watts over Shell reserves scandal
Sir Philip Watts' two-year battle to clear his name ended in victory for the former Shell chairman yesterday after the US Securities and Exchange Commission decided not to take any action against him over the oil giant's reserves reporting scandal.
The decision marks the end of all regulatory investigations into Sir Philip's role in the affair, which led to the biggest corporate shake-up at Shell in the company's 100-year history.
Last year the Financial Services Authority, the UK regulator, decided not to take any action against the former Shell chairman. The US Justice Department is also understood to have decided not to proceed.
Sir Philip said: "I am extremely pleased the US authorities have closed the investigation. As I have stated from the beginning, I have acted in good faith throughout and I had every reason to believe that Shell acted properly and in good faith when disclosing proved reserves."
Shell stunned the oil industry and the financial markets in January 2004 by admitting that 4 billion barrels of oil reserves, previously booked as "proven", had been incorrectly categorised. The scandal led to the ousting of Sir Philip and two other board directors and plunged the company into unprecedented turmoil, ultimately resulting in it abandoning its twin-board and dual-listed status.
A damning report subsequently commissioned by Shell from a US law firm in effect ended Sir Philip's corporate career by accusing him of deceiving shareholders. In one e-mail sent to Sir Philip, Shell's former head of exploration, Walter van de Vijver, complained that he was "sick and tired about lying" over the state of the company's reserves.
Joseph Goldstein, of the Washington law firm Mayer Brown Rowe and Maw, who represented Sir Philip, said he could not comment on what the former Shell chairman might do now. "He is just enjoying the moment."
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...