7 January 2001
Mr A Hinton
Foreign Investment and Review Board (FIRB)
The Treasury Building
Dear Mr Hinton,
re Shell's purchase of control of Woodside
I note from the television news that Shell Petroleum is seeking approval to buy control of Woodside in Australia.
I am sure that you are aware of the serious concerns about the way this company operates, particularly its past relationship with the oppressive regime in Nigeria, and its conduct there.
You may not be aware that petroleum industry is among the major groups indulging in fraud in the USA and that Shell is one of the prime culprits - paying a large fine in the last year.
I attach a copy of a press release by the US department of Justice. I sincerely trust that you will take this matter up with the department of justice and will investigate. As an Australian citizen I ask whether companies which have defrauded the citizens of another country should be allowed to expand and control groups in Australia. I believe the public would be unanimously opposed.
As the press release shows petroleum does not come anywhere near health and aged care when it comes to the fraud stakes. Health care fines are well over 50% of the total.
Also worrying is the fact that almost all of the fraud was exposed by whistleblowers utilizing Qui Tam laws. These reward citizens handsomely for proving wrongdoing - some compensation for the enormous risks and the trauma of whistle blowing.
Australia does not have laws protecting and rewarding whistle blowers. Had this been Australia hardly any of this fraud would have been exposed - in fact we would not know that it had occurred. We are largely dependent on the integrity of the FIRB vetting process to protect us from criminal organisations. If there are no social repercussions to show our abhorrence of people like this then fines for defrauding citizens become no more than the cost of doing business.
I remind you that control of Australian Hospital Care, Sun Healthcare's bankrupt Australian hospitals, and Sun's dominant share of Alpha are all for sale or likely to be for sale. There have been recurrent rumours about Mayne Nickless selling much of its health care empire and going elsewhere. There are few buyers in Australia. Many disturbing US groups are looking for international opportunities to buffer them against problems in that country.
Attached was US Government Press Release
JUSTICE RECOVERS RECORD $1.5 BILLION IN FRAUD PAYMENTS ::::HIGHEST EVER FOR ONE YEAR PERIOD
CLICK HERE to read this press release