Carl Richards, Arbitrary and Capricious Company Secretary, PGS Exploration (UK) Limited.

Carl Richards, Arbitrary and Capricious Company Secretary, PGS Exploration (UK) Limited.

(24 February 2018)

The fact is that white-collar criminals are, in general, incredibly good at deluding themselves that they’re good people, even when they clearly aren’t.

Felix Salmon

Most targets are forced out of their positions within two years of a bullying and mobbing campaign. Forced out by being fired, resigning, becoming ill, committing suicide or going postal!  All of this could be avoided if every working person had a knowledge of “workplace bullying and mobbing”.


PGS Exploration (UK) Limited [PGSUK], 4 The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge, England, KT13 0NY, was trying desperately to hide management malfeasance and contrive a legal appearing way to terminate me from employment.  Corrupt executives did not just want me to lose my job with PGSUK, they wanted me never to work again.  They had no qualms about endangering my health and well-being, and that of my family.  These corrupt and reprobate executives will do whatever they can to avoid taking responsibility for their decisions.  According to the Black’s Law Dictionaryarbitrary and capricious refers to willful and unreasonable action without consideration or in disregard of facts or law or without determining principle.  When I eventually did deliver my formal grievance complaining of workplace bullying and harassment, along with multiple departures from PGSUK policy and UK contract and employment laws, I cited that the three principal bullies were, in fact, behaving with arbitrary caprice.  At the time, I had no idea that arbitrary and capricious was the practiced executive management philosophy of Norway based Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS).  PGSUK is an affiliate of PGS.  Such evil and cruel behaviors were deliberate and intended to harm a foreign worker and whistleblower, along with his PGSUK sponsored family.  This type of workplace gang-bullying, psychological and physical abuse, defamation and blacklisting, executed to protect corrupt and incompetent executives, is wicked, contemptible and illegal.   And this is why PGS/PGSUK executives remain silent to this day.  They do not want to admit to, nor explain, their immoral, iniquitous and harmful actions.

A corrupt PGS/PGSUK hierarchy, who laud core values as well as an unparalleled regard for workplace health and safety publicly, in practice, will take unprecedented measures to defame and blacklist a whistleblower that sheds light on discovered executive non-compliant behaviors.  A whistleblower is an employee who exposes or reports information about their employer regarding corruption, a threat to public interest, a violation of company policy, or a violation of the law.  I believe that my grievance, which noted violations/departures from PGSUK policy and UK Labor Law, reached that standard.  The tragic dynamic between corrupt organizational hierarchies and whistleblowers is that Company agents entrusted with abiding by the rules, policies and laws advance through not doing their jobs well, while whistleblowers often have their careers halted for actually doing their jobs well, as well as honestly.  This PGSUK confidence fraud allowed the corrupt and criminal bullies, PGSUK Directors and Executives total personal victory over their target.  They were allowed to preserve their knowingly defamatory narrative and impede their targets career progression, whilst not taking any responsibility for their dishonest, health-harming, and criminal acts.  The PGSUK Directors and Secretary misused resources, human and monetary, to conduct non-compliant and illegal actions.  How were involved law firms Watson, Farley and Williams (WFW) and Landau, Zeffertt and Wier (LZW) enticed and compensated into also behaving corruptly on behalf of the bullies and alleged criminals?

The cabal likely never anticipated that their corrupt actions would be exposed once their hapless target left England in exile.  However, I filed a subject access request (SAR) citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and their lies were revealed.  Corrupt PGS/PGSUK Directors and Executives have yet to demonstrate to me that they have complied with any published Company policy or national laws, by the way that they handled my termination from employment with PGSUK, as well as the events since.  I can prove, with dated e-mail evidence, that corrupt PGS/PGSUK personal data processors are knowingly processing inaccurate and false personal data about me.  PGS/PGSUK personal data processors are currently defrauding me and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).  Data controller PGSUK personal data processors are like misguided alchemists trying to change mercury into gold.  PGS/PGSUK cannot prove that the data that they are processing under my name is true or accurate.  What they can prove more easily, perhaps, is that bribed lawyers will help process false instruments created to provide the appearance of a legal settlement contract agreement and disguise a panicked wrongful termination.  This confidence fraud was planned and perpetrated so that PGSUK Directors and Executives would escape any culpability for a litany of wrong-doing.  In the final analysis, there is just no legal way to produce illegal records.  Crooked lawyers agreeing on a lie does not turn those lies into the truth.  It may fool ICO caseworkers, but I believe that what they have actually done is called intentional misrepresentation to a government agency!

The key to forgery is if you have permission, there is no forgery. There was never an intent to defraud anybody.

Jere Reneer

We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.

Michelle Obama

As a Marine Contract Sales Supervisor – Africa, I used to work with Carl Richards, PGSUK Head of Legal and Company Secretary and his legal staff, at the time, Ben Kelly.  Richards and/or Kelly would review and recommend amendments to contract terms and conditions for marine seismic/EM data acquisition and processing projects.   I was informed that Richards and Kelly had read my written grievance and also recommended that I sign a settlement contract agreement rather than proceed through the grievance process which had illuminated untoward executive behaviors and decisions.  Therefore, Richards and Kelly sanctioned, as well as participated in, all of the processes that resulted in creating these false and inaccurate personal data records affecting my termination under false pretenses.  PGS Legal Counsel and Compliance at the time, Rune Olav Pedersen, had also similarly read the grievance and likely strongly influenced this course of action.  Pedersen’s culprit companion in PGS Compliance, Terje Bjølseth, PGS SVP Global HR, signed a forged memo stating that proper actions were taken to justify my termination.  Bjølseth presided over a grievance hearing, along with division head, Per Arild Reksnes, PGS EVP Marine Contract.  Reksnes also signed this fake memo which supposedly had been written to my attention.  I had never read it, nor ever signed it.

My quest for over two-years of reviewing data, requesting clarification, writing blog articles, writing queries on LinkedIn™ PGS comment section, filing a report and sending emails to PGS Compliance Hotline, and generating several Twitter™ feeds, many with images, has been aimed to get answers.  No one, other than myself, seems to want to clearly explain what was the legal basis for the proffered settlement agreement contract, and moreover, what data was used to support and process the contract, and finally, how was the data verified?  Did these measures follow the prescribed legal and compliant procedures?  There is no way that PGS/PGSUK can answer in the affirmative.  For one thing, no legal and compliant formed settlement contract agreement would ever allow such inflammatory publications directed at agents of my former employer and their counsel (WFW), as well as my own counsel (LZW).  In fact, one of the conditions that I did not concede during negotiations was the inclusion of a mutual non-disparagement clause.  I had even requested that the defamatory materials created by the bullies be expunged.  I was claiming defamation, after all.  Of course, I did not know that my legal advisers were compromised at the time.  The integrity of my personal data, and the processes used to create it, was central to my grievance.  Data protection was also part of my contract of employment.  However, I was never allowed to see all of the data, even when I requested it.  There is no legal and compliant scenario of processes that can accomplish turning mercury into gold, and all of the individuals from PGS/PGSUK, WFW, and LZW, who processed the false instruments that supported the illegal settlement contract agreement know this. 

This is why there needs to be an explanation provided by those in legally responsible positions of authoritative power for there to be closure.  These questions deserve responsible and truthful answers for the greater public good.  The PGSUK Directors who share PGSUK oversight responsibilities with Richards also serve as executives at Norwegian parent company, Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS).  The current PGSUK directors are Rune Olav Pedersen, PGS President and CEO; Gottfred Langseth, PGS EVP and CFO; and Christen Steen-Nilsen, Chief Accountant.  However, much of this accountability pertains to events which happened in the 2012 – 2013 timeframe.  Jon Erik Reinhardsen, (former) President and CEO resigned as director August 2017.  Lawyer Candida Pinto was the PGSUK Secretary prior to September 2013.  PGSUK enlisted an experienced employment lawyer to negotiate and finalize the settlement contract agreement on their behalf.  Rhodri Thomas, who was with Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW), negotiated and finalized the settlement on behalf of PGSUK.   The experienced employment lawyers whom I engaged to help me, Philip Landau and Holly Rushton, were with Landau, Zeffertt, and Weir Solicitors (LZW).  Thomas was the intermediary who communicated directly with both PGSUK HR staff and lawyers, as well as LZW lawyers, during the negotiations.  I never had direct communications with PGSUK lawyers or Thomas throughout the entirety of settlement contract agreement negotiations.  I relied on LZW lawyers to proceed in the best way to advance my interests.  I was intentionally kept very busy with marine contract sales work while the negotiations were going on.

The vast literature concerning whistleblowers shows that, far from weird extremists, they are really quite ordinary people: male and female, young and old, junior and senior, no more nerdy or obsessive than most hard workers.

Margaret Heffernan

Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kind of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Central to my grievance was workplace gang-bullying perpetrated by three (3) executives who were abusing their positions and the performance management system to demote me and terminate my employment.  The three named bullies were my boss, Edward von Abendorff, PGSUK VP Contract Sales – Africa; his boss Simon Cather, PGSUK Marine Contract President – Africa; and David Nicholson, PGSUK HR Manager.  A firm copy of my workplace grievance was delivered in person during a delayed and then re-scheduled meeting to Nicholson, Abendorff, and my witness/coworker, John Barnard, Contract Sales Supervisor – Africa.  I sent electronic copies by internal/work e-mail to Cather, Bjølseth, Reksnes and John Greenway, PGS SVP Marine Contract.  All the recipients and directors of my delivered grievance document know that the content contradicts, emphatically, the false instruments which support a false narrative.  For those who may not have known how the matter was ultimately resolved, my blog posts clarified this.  I published and named individuals within, An American, the UK Data Protection Act, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) and the Tyranny of “Accurate Data” (3-Jul-2015).   With this publication, all recipients and responsible people familiar with my grievance were on placed on notice that I knew that things were not alright.  When I published Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) CEO Jon Erik Reinhardsen Should Resign 2 (20-Sep-2015), all the cabal knew why.  The PGS/PGSUK executives have been running away from the truth and responsibility ever since they were first publicly identified.

Targets of workplace gang-bullying campaigns have become ill, depressed, been driven to suicide, or even gone postal and killed their tormentors.  My therapy has been to share the truth on social media and blog posts.  I was robbed of my legal right under contract to share the truth and be respected while an employee of PGSUK.  My predicament, in no small part, is due to the corrupt decisions of PGSUK lawyers, Richards and Kelly.  Their misguided actions were approved by the PGS General Counsel and legal compliance lawyer, Pedersen.  I have not completely figured out the role that Pinto played.  However, Pinto holds key information needed to have a complete understanding of pertinent events.  The gang-bullying behavior of the three named principals involved their departing from published protocols, especially with regard to the prescribed policies relevant to PGSUKs performance management system.  I also claimed that the principals were defaming me through chronicling and projecting harmful untruths.  Mainly, there were several abuses of authoritative agency power and position and departure from published PGSUK policy and contract breaches, such as duty of care and duty of mutual trust and confidence common contract law provisions.  The chaotic and non-compliant behaviors were distressful and affecting my health.  This stress was also compounded by the fact that I was a foreign worker and sole provider to my family with limited control or ability to escape the toxic and health-harming work environment.  All of these behaviors happened while Pinto was Secretary.

I had been offered the settlement agreement contract to not follow through with the formal grievance process, which was my legal right under contract. It took great effort for me to be able to finally deliver my written grievance.  Nicholson impeded my initial queries into submitting a grievance.  There were two (2) key events which served as the main basis for my composing the grievance document.  The first key event was the ambush meeting, which happened in June 2013, and the second was what I have referred to as an ambush letter, which happened in late July 2013.  These events are discussed within the blog post, The Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) Ambush Meeting and the Definition of Fraud (24-May-2016).  My first query into submitting a grievance was made immediately following the ambush meeting, as is outlined in the referenced blog post.  I also asked Nicholson for meeting minutes and how the meeting complied with policy and procedures.  Nicholson withheld providing answers to all of these questions.  Nothing had been provided to me in writing.  The ambush letter was requested by me, in as much as it was something firm that I could reference.  The contents were the contents.  However, the question for both Richards and Pinto would be how the ambush meeting and subsequent ambush letter were compliant with employment law and PGSUK policy and procedures?

Bullies, when they are managers, love to cheat. They hurriedly call a meeting and mandate that their bullied target attend. No agenda. No stated purpose. Then, Wham! You’re fired! This is the Ambush Meeting, something you should expect and prepare for.

Workplace Bully Institute

The respect for human rights is nowadays not so much a matter of having international standards, but rather questions of compliance with those standards.

Michelle Bachelet

Nicholson formed the ambush letter which related items brought forth within the ambush meeting.  However, there was a significant included difference from the ambush meeting added within the subject line: Investigation into possible implementation of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).  PGSUK was trying to steer me away from submitting the grievance following the inappropriate ambush meeting and inject a disciplinary action.  This would make my grievance appear to be a response to a disciplinary action.  A meeting was scheduled for 11 September 2013 within the ambush letter.  In between the ambush meeting and ambush letter, PGSUK had renewed my Tier 2 visa, stipulated on the shortage occupation list.  (This meant that PGSUK did not have to advertise the position locally.)  The 11 September 2013 meeting was rescheduled for 20 September 2013.  Nicholson knew that my intention was to submit a grievance at these scheduled meetings.  It is important to note that on 13 September 2013, Pinto resigned as PGSUK Secretary and Richards assumed the PGSUK Secretary responsibilities.   I delivered my prepared grievance document on 20 September 2013.  At the time of delivery, the grievance was the only active formal employment action.  The 20 September 2013 meeting was very short and no discussions regarding the said “investigation” happened.  My grievance document was presented to PGS/PGSUK executives Bjølseth, Reksnes, Greenway, my witness, Barnard and the three principal subjects, Abendorff, Cather, and Nicholson.

A grievance hearing meeting was scheduled on 14 October 2013, over three-weeks after the grievance was delivered.  However, on 10 October 2013, I was offered a settlement contract agreement.  Nicholson had offered me a settlement contract agreement to not follow-through with the scheduled grievance hearing meeting.  During this short meeting, Nicholson mentioned that PGS/PGSUK lawyers had read my grievance and considered me to be in dispute with the Company and wanted to terminate my employment this way.  I declined the proffered settlement contract agreement.  I wanted to proceed through the process.  Just after this short meeting I made contact with Landau.  I provided some details and also a copy of my grievance document with names redacted.  I have published my initial e-mail communications with Landau/LZW within the blog article, The Crimes of @PhilipLandau #London #EmploymentLaw #Solicitor and Petroleum Geo-Services #PGS #CEO #Pedersen (30-Dec-2017).  [This blog which contained e-mail communications has not been republished. Please see: pre-settlement negotiations.] I did decide to engage LZW Solicitors, Landau and his assistant Rushton.  PGSUK lawyers distanced themselves from the direct negotiations and enlisted aid from long-time customer Watson, Farley and Williams (WFW).  Rhodri Thomas, WFW Employment Solicitor was brought in to negotiate on behalf of PGSUK.  Landau had been provided with accurate information within my grievance document as well as through subsequent communications.  My grievance document included the referenced ambush letter without the date for the follow-up meeting changed.  However, Landau was made aware of the rescheduled date through e-mails.

Defamation was a principal component of my formal grievance.  Beyond this, a main point of negotiations was a clause regarding disparagement.  The initial clause was one-sided favoring PGSUK.  I requested a mutual non-disparagement clause, at the very least.  Initially, I wanted all content authored by the three principals, Nicholson, Abendorff, and Cather, to be expunged  from my personnel records.  After all, the grievance was claiming defamation by the three principals.  Landau or Rushton, and of course PGSUK, never even suggested that I exercise my legal right to make certain that the data PGSUK was processing was true and accurate and actually see what was being processed.  In fact, PGSUK made a concerted effort to not allow my review.  This is made clear in my blog posts when PGSUK denied me to review minutes of the ambush meeting.  Yet, a version of minutes is currently being processed.  Had I been provided with the ambush meeting minutes when I first requested them, then I would have been able to submit my grievance months sooner.   My frustration was that I was being prevented from exercising my right to submit a grievance by Nicholson.  However, when I finally did submit the grievance, everyone who read the grievance would have known the records being processed were false and inaccurate.  This includes PGS/PGSUK lawyers and LZW lawyers.  The written grievance clearly contradicts the PGSUK narrative being processed.   Further, the ambush letter that PGSUK continues to process retains the original 11 September 2013 meeting date.

The more people rationalize cheating, the more it becomes a culture of dishonesty. And that can become a vicious, downward cycle. Because suddenly, if everyone else is cheating, you feel a need to cheat, too.

Stephen Covey

If two individuals enter into a contract to commit trespass, theft, robbery or murder upon a third, the contract is unlawful and void, simply because it is a contract to violate natural justice, or men’s natural rights.

Lysander Spooner

It is obvious that data controller PGSUK is knowingly processing false instruments supporting a false narrative.  Pedersen, Richards, Kelly, and Nicholson all read the grievance.  PGSUK has lied to the ICO, and PGS executives have lied to the Norwegian Data Protection Agency.  At its core, however, this is all about PGSUK not wanting to fairly address the issues brought forth within the submitted grievance.  The grievance document is also not being processed by PGSUK.  PGS/PGSUK have deleted this watershed event out of our shared history.  PGSUK, WFW, and LZW lawyers created and processed false instruments framed to make the settlement offer look like a legal performance based termination.  But, PGS had absolutely no documents and had not followed processes to support a performance based termination.  I always knew this, and therefore was surprised at the way the settlement negotiations (which should have never happened before a grievance process concluded) were going from the onset.  This only could have happened to a foreign worker concerned about the health and safety of his family.  Also removed from my personnel file is a report from PGSUK’s third-party occupational health nurse.  She had detected evidence of elevated stress levels related to my workplace and recommended that I visit a GP.  Nicholson and Abendorff had even requested the evaluations themselves while negotiations were underway.  Landau knew that my GP was prepared to issue an unfit note and that I had visited different specialist due to sleeping issues.  Pedersen, Richards, and Kelly knew about the OHN assessment and withheld her report from me.  I had to request a copy of the report from her personally after I had left England.

My Occupational Health Intentionally Placed at Risk

PGS/PGSUK enticed and compensated, in some way, the other lawyers involved in resolving the settlement contract agreement to legitimize the defamatory data about me.  PGS/PGSUK created and processed false instruments uttering defamatory claims to be processed as my legal records.  It was a character assassination explicitly orchestrated to blacklist me and marginalize me in my profession carried out by a gang of conspirators and fraudsters who all retained or gained professional status since this confidence fraud game.  If a potential employer had contacted PGS/PGSUK and queried about my work history, PGSUK records are the reference.  If there were to be a legal claim, PGSUK records are the reference.  This is why three sets of lawyers were used to assemble this only legal appearing termination.  With true and accurate data, it was a sinister and evil wrongful termination.  So, if I interviewed for position under the belief that I signed a settlement agreement because I was harassed, the employer can be suspicious if they have learned that I was terminated for performance based reasons.  And by the way, HR staff, Laura Haswell, Gareth Jones, and Anne Stokle (I was told) processed and viewed my personnel file and should have known it did not comply with a legal standard.  Nothing was signed by me and the health report was removed.  Cather helped produce the forged documents, as well.  Further, Jones was stationed in Houston, the job market that I relocated to.  Nicholson says he is a PGSUK processor because it would be illegal to share personal data between the US and UK.  All this makes the target of bullying look like a liar, when in fact the opposite is true.

This is the type of evil, corrupt, and criminal cowards PGS/PGSUK directors and executives are.  There are many negative ramifications of PGS/PGSUK continuing to process knowingly false data which they must have illegally paid lawyers to process.  For one thing, it’s all illegal.  But, for the target of the confidence fraud, even ICO regards this defamatory data to be legal and accurate.  Tragically, when I submitted the SAR to PGSUK, I had to communicate with the same criminal con-artistes who processed my settlement!  If PGS/PGSUK ever responded to my queries or posts, I would take notice.  If PGS/PGSUK ever publicly accused me of criminal behavior, I would take any/all legal action that I were capable of doing against them.  However, I can call the CEO and several executive’s liars, cheaters, cowards, ass holes, and criminals without rebuke?   Either PGS/PGSUK, WFW, and LZW lawyers are incompetent, or they are fugitives from justice on the lam.  PGS is being directed by a cabal of cowardly lying fraudsters.  Unfortunately, a corrupt hierarchy protects each other through bribing loyalty and perverting the course of justice through concealing the truth.  Reinhardsen is now Chairman of the StatOil board of directors.  Reinhardsen is culpable and should be in jail along with many executives in my view.  However, this all does not change the fact that the cold hard truth is bullet proof and never depleted.  PGS/PGSUK processing their false instruments only harms them is a fair legal venue not constructed by corrupt lawyers.  I seek access to a fair legal venue.  However, PGS/PGSUK is still paying salaries and advancing their corrupt operators while still blacklisting a whistleblower.

When I worked within the Contract Sales – Africa group, the legal team could often review substantive marine seismic data acquisition contracts generally in less than a week.  Further, I had never expressed any animosity or disagreement with any one of the PGSUK legal team.  I respected their knowledge and ability, as well as understood their important contribution to the Marine Contract Sales – Africa group.  Therefore, it has been very disappointing to discover that both Richards and Kelly played key roles in assisting corrupt gang-bully executives escape accountability for not following PGSUK policy and protocols, and the law.  Richards and Kelly, with full support and direction from PGS legal, Pedersen, decided to join the bullies and engage in abhorrent and corrupt behaviors directed at harming me and my family, all while protecting and participating in violent and health-harming workplace behaviors.  Pedersen, Richards and Kelly, have demonstrated a complete lack of character, honesty, or courage, along with their corrupt and complicit HR gang-members.

Pedersen, Richards and Kelly are a scar on the legal profession, as are Thomas, Landau and Rushton.  They have practiced the very definition of arbitrary and capricious behaviors.  None of them deserves any sympathy whatsoever for any negative actions or publicity which has effected them.  My hopeful objective is that actors in this confidence fraud game go to jail/prison.  This would be justice as a byproduct of their collective illegal decisions and actions.  They are dishonest, unprofessional and despicable cowards.  They have, thus far, unjustly benefited from their pillage and misuse of PGS/PGSUK resources.  This is because the entire PGS/PGSUK power structure was complicit to the fraud.  And therefore, those who have cooperated and remained silent have also benefited. Neither Pedersen, Richards nor Kelly will comment or explain their actions.  (Very disrespectful.)  Instead, they have been enabled to slither away from their legal responsibilities and accountability and this is the greatest threat to a fair market and industry: corruption rewarded.

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.

Peter Drucker

The humanities teach us the value, even for business, of criticism and dissent. When there’s a culture of going along to get along, where whistleblowers are discouraged, bad things happen and businesses implode.

Martha C. Nussbaum