Norway’s StatOil Corruption Perception Delusion and Moral Turpitude (21 March 2018)

Statoil Board of Directors (top left à right): Jon Erik Reinhardsen, Roy Franklin, Bjørn Tore Godal, Ingrid Elisabeth di Valerio, Per Martin Labråten, Maria Johanna (Marjan) Oudeman, Wenche Agerup, Rebekka Glasser Herlofsen, Jeroen van der Veer, Stig Lægreid Petroleum Geo-Services Board of Directors (top left à right): Walter Qvam, Daniel J. Piette, Holly Van Deursen, Carol Bell, Anne Grethe Dalane, Morten Borge, Richard Herbert, Anette Valbø, Espen Grimstad

Norway’s Equinor’s Corruption Perception Delusion and Moral Turpitude

Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true. This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage. ~ Ivanka Trump

Norway is a small, open, natural resource-rich economy. About a quarter of our GDP is related to oil and gas extraction, and a large share of our petroleum production is exported. ~ Øystein Olsen (March 2017)

According to Wikipedia, the largest company in Norway is Statoil ASA.   In 2012, Transparency International conducted a study to find out how transparent the largest global companies are.  The survey covered such things as:

  • Do companies publish what they do to make sure their staff don’t engage in corrupt acts?
  • Do they disclose lists of subsidiaries, as well as where they are registered and where they operate?
  • How much financial data do companies reveal about their operations in foreign countries, such as revenues and taxes?

The 2012 Transparency International study stated that companies were scored from 0-10 based on their disclosure of various sorts of business information important for investors and the general public: where they pay their taxes, their corporate structures and what they are doing to prevent corruption. In the scores, 10 is most transparent, and 0 is least transparent.  Statoil ASA topped the 2012 list with a score of 8.3.  That would seem like a positive way to be viewed, and yet Statoil ASA announced on 15 March 2018 that they were proposing changing their name to Equinor ASA, marking a diversification from oil and gas.  There will be a vote 15 May 2018.  Transparency International also publishes their Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that ranks countries and territories using a scale from 0 to 100 by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.  Norway ranks near the top on the latest CPI listing.  However, superficial ratings and name changes can only tell consumers so much.  It is the processes and analysis which supports such numbers which is far more important to countries and the global market place.     

My special interest in Norway corruption/corruption perception pivots around the fact that, as a USA citizen, I worked with affiliates of Norwegian based company Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) for several years and within several different countries.  (PGS is listed as the 52nd largest Norwegian company.)  But, it is mostly the fact that I am a whistleblower who revealed corruption and subsequently what I am certain is fraud, as well as several abuses of agency authoritative power, perpetrated by PGS executives based in Norway, as well as within their affiliate, PGS Exploration (UK) Limited (PGSUK).  This all connects to Statoil ASA because the former, and now retired, CEO and President of PGS, Jon Erik Reinhardsen, is now the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Statoil.  The former PGS General Counsel, who was in charge of legal compliance, Rune Olav Pedersen, has risen to become the current CEO and President of PGS.  Nothing changes one’s corruption perception of company and country as dramatically as being a foreign-worker whistleblower and an actual victim of corrupt business practices.  Changing the name of the company will not change its susceptibility to corruption.  Only the character and priorities of its direction and leadership beyond the name can do this.  In the case of Statoil, from my perspective, the first change needs to be Reinhardsen.

Every person has a different view of another person’s image. That’s all perception. The character of a man, the integrity, that’s who you are. ~ Steve Alford

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases. ~ John Adams

Some may think that I am talking out of school, as I am not from Norway.  However, I did work for a Norwegian company for several (16) years and much of my adult life.  More importantly, perhaps, is that I believe it was the fact that I was a foreign worker under the control of corrupt executives within a foreign country is what made me a good mark for both the workplace gang-bullying, along with a number of policy, legal and contractual infractions.  As a foreign worker exiled from his workplace where the infractions occurred, the difficulty and logistics necessary to expose PGS/PGSUK corruption is substantial.  Revealing the truth and exposing the corrupt actors would be near impossible without internet social media with global reach.  The corrupt malign whistleblowers.  They rob them of their professional income and assassinate their character to exacerbate the power imbalance.  Bear in mind, even with my publications, no one from inside or outside PGS/PGSUK is really motivated to acknowledge, investigate, and rectify my revelations in a normal and compliant way.  (This is the main impediment of a whistleblower.)  Therefore, the pursuit of justice has been far from easy.  The corrupt merely remain silent and ignore the injustice.  The corrupt are allowed to continue their irresponsible and evil behaviors with impunity because no one holds those abusing their authoritative power to account.  A dysfunctional and corrupted system aids and abets the corrupt. 

With the amplified voice of social media, I began publishing my narrative and relating the actions of PGS/PGSUK executives publicly.  Initially, I began this effort on LinkedIn™ (LI).  Now, my blog articles are posted on my independent website, and promoted through Twitter™, and more recently, on Pinterest™.  I have written well over 25 blog articles.  Reinhardsen and Pedersen have been included within the titles of several of the articles and, quite frankly, form much of the basis of the contents for all of them.  Reinhardsen, as CEO of PGS, as well as Director for PGS Exploration (UK) Limited (PGSUK), held key authoritative power and agency responsibility for decisions impacting the workplace.  Similarly, Pedersen was to guide that decisions formed were legal.  I can prove (have proven) that both Reinhardsen and Pedersen failed in these responsibilities.  Even more terrible, both Reinhardsen and Pedersen actively participated in harmful illegals acts, and then cooperated in their cover-up.  This is what has been chronicled and supported with evidence within my blog articles.     

The repertoire for perception manipulation is a combination of tricking senses, distracting attention and subtly persuading.  As every magician, as well as corrupt board member or executive knows, perception is malleable.  It’s also the basis for branding.  Psychologists have deduced that the human mind combines two approaches in forming perceptions.  One is bottom-up processing, which involves the direct sensory flow of information.  The second is top-down processing, where perceptions are influenced by previous knowledge, expectations and existing beliefs.  Humans are designed to trust their own perceptions.  Therefore the trustworthiness of the information being processed is integral to whether perceptions correlate to reality, or if they don’t.  Also, trust does not apply only to virtuous acts.  For instance, if one is planning a bank robbery, they need people who they can trust to not tell legal authorities about the plan.  These planners would rely on their perceptions of who these individuals could be.  Trust is more about shared objectives, and not the objective itself.  Familiarity between individuals involved in previous transactions together often establishes trust.  Such enhanced shared perceptions are conducive to future dealings.  Therefore, there is really no benefit for corrupt actors to change a positive perception of corruption or trustworthiness.  In fact, confidence fraud, marketing and magic tricks all rely on misguided perceptions and misplaced trust.  This is why making serious decisions based only on perceptions is dangerous, because senses are easily tricked.

We’ve had some quite serious and big corruption scandals in Norway. ~ Guro Slettemark

Changing your location doesn’t necessarily mean losing your problems. They’ll show up wherever you are, changing to fit the situation. But until you break them down and deal with it, there is nowhere far enough for you to run away from them. ~  K.K. Hendin 

The most heinous and corrupt behavior is the abuse of power that is used to interfere, weaken, and obstruct the very checks and processes of enterprise governance and corporate responsibility that are in place specifically to identify and eliminate corruption.  Such led and directed enterprises are only interested the perception that fighting corruption is a priority, when in fact there is really no such objective above maintaining a misperception.  This is the epitome of corrupt behavior.  Such an abuse of entrusted power could only happen in a dysfunctional and multi-layered system which accommodates corruption and the corrupt.  And this system, unfortunately, happens to be now operating at the highest levels of corporate power in Norway.  The truth is that the corrupt with entrusted power do not want to change any positive perception.  It serves the objectives of the corrupt to maintain a favorable status quo.  A general population of any country trying to eradicate corruption needs systems and processes dependent on reliable data and not top-down perceptions.   It seems that Norway also has a privileged executive class which protects one another.  This is more expected within countries where there ismore perceived corruption.  However, as within any country, it is in the best interest for the majority who play by the rules to cleanse both the market environment and population of the scourge that is corruption

When scientists encounter results which counter their predictions, they examine their hypotheses, which are based on initial perceptions.  This is the basis of the scientific method, which is data driven.  Conclusions are not based solely on perceptions, but in the testing and validation of the hypothesis through a range of data and controls that impact outcomes.  In fact, great care and consideration is involved in designing experiments that will actually validate a hypothesis.  In the physical sciences, experiments are constrained by natural laws and physical properties.  There are so many variables and uncertainties in the behavioral sciences that corruption perception index (CPI) rankings should be considered very carefully.  The CPI number is said to capture the informed views of analysts, businesspeople and experts in countries around the world.  There are any number of biases in this approach.  Scandinavian countries generally rate favorably in the Transparency International CPI rankings.  At the same time, there is corruption in Scandinavian countries.  The political systems and internal processes add to the complexity and uncertainties attached to CPI ranking.  Therefore, there still needs to be vigilance in both detecting and rooting-out corruption with benign and unbiased processes that do not preclude a countries market fidelity based on esoteric ratings.     

The population of Norway is listed as 5.233 million.  For perspective, the population of Harris County, Texas, which encompasses the city of Houston, is 4.538 million.   It stands to reason that Norwegian executives are more familiar with one another, in the same way that senior level executives would interact in supporting community initiatives within a big city, such as Houston.  I now know that there has been cooperation in the Norway executive class to protect and promote corrupt actors, such as Reinhardsen and Pedersen.  Many senior executives and directors have abrogated their legal agency responsibilities to uphold employee and human rights and have instead provided a sanctuary to derelict executives.  These executives and boards have not represented shareholders and stakeholders respectfully and carried-out honest and thorough due diligence.  Statoil is 67% Norwegian government owned and there is not a thorough investigation of the candidates to serve as Chairman on their board of directors?  Reinhardsen also sits on the board of directors for Telenor, 54% Norwegian government owned.   The aiding and abetting of corrupt and health-harming behavior to silence and destroy a whistleblower and his family has truly been multi-leveled and international in its breadth.  It has been beyond my wildest imagination, quite frankly.  However, when a group of self-entitled corporate terrorists throw a bomb intended to destroy you and your family, one does not care about status and résumés.  Such actions indicate that Norway’s corruption perception is a mythology far removed from a dangerous reality.  I cannot be the only casualty of such misperception and mismanagement.      

I think the greater responsibility, in terms of morality, is where leadership begins. ~ Norman Lear

The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability. ~ Simon Mainwaring

Reinhardsen and Pedersen have never acted responsibly, nor legally, with respect to my whistleblowing.  As CEO and General Counsel, both of these individuals were ultimately responsible for forming a legal and responsible outcome to my formal grievance.  The have behaved more as four year olds hiding under their bed scared of monsters.  I discovered, after the fact, that the outcome was not legal.  I can prove this.  Neither Reinhardsen nor Pedersen have been held accountable to explain the processes and outcome.  The collective effort of those holding entrusted power has been to simply maintain a false narrative through remaining silent and not engaging.  Those holding entrusted power obviously do not want transparency and a fair resolution.  Maintaining the defamatory narrative has required providing material misrepresentations to both Norwegian and UK government agencies, deceiving stakeholders by the contents of the Responsibility Report, especially with regard to health and safety performance and anti-corruption commitment.  The Compliance Hotline team (CH), composed of Pedersen and Terje Bjølseth, PGS SVP Global Human Resources (HR) was instrumental in forwarding the fraudulent actions perpetrated against me.  Bjølseth and Per Arild Reksnes, PGS EVP Marine Contract both signed a forged memo intended fool people that proper processes were followed.  They were not.  And again, after the fact, when I knew things were not right, CH continued not to engage and continued the fraud that obstructed the truth.  CH would not respond to emails.  CH would not respond to online queries through the PGS LI page.  CH would delete my queries.  CH had no interest in compliance nor transparency because of their direct involvement in the fraud. 

My resolve for engagement – and answers – eventually got me restricted from LI.  PGS continued to defame me through never (publicly) acknowledging or commenting on my blog post articles or Twitter™ feeds, which they also now block.  These articles and feeds revealed that PGS/PGSUK were processing forged documents to support a false narrative to protect accused executives of corruption.  The result of not correcting such misinformation is to continue the personal and professional destruction of the whistleblower and his family.  I had over 4600 LI connections and managed a LI Marine Seismic Survey group with over 1560 members.  The honest and transparent true professional lost his account on the LI professional network.  The corrupt liars, harassers, and abusers retained their pages and perceived professional status.  The blog articles are now published on two separate independent websites.  The website is devoted to anti-bullying and anti-corruption, while the other is devoted to marine seismic market,   Stakeholders should really consider why a large company with a legal department and general counsel, along with a marketing department, cannot answer transparently reasonable and simple queries.  What are such companies hiding and how does such behavior conform to their published commitments?  Aren’t such responses really a better measure of anti-corruption initiatives and transparency?  My plea is that the owners of Statoil ASA, Norway’s citizens, demand accountability and real due diligence. 

If the information that companies publish with regard to their anti-corruption actions is low-fidelity and deceitful, such reporting is actually more corrupt and destructive than taking no action at all.  Any actions based on deceitful reporting is superfluous and probably counter-productive toward any real anti-corruption objectives.  Simply, it mostly serves the corrupt in maintaining misperceptions which allow cover from their abuse of even more entrusted power.  Systemic failures generally result from multiple process failures.  In my case, PGSUK executive workplace malfeasance was ordained and amplified by the corrupt actions of higher level PGS executives.  The retaliatory actions were done under the auspices of a complicit board of directors.  In other words, rules and protocols were allowed to be broken through every level of legal and compliant resolution.  The corruption was facilitated and the corrupt actors protected with no effort to actually eradicate the corruption and destructive behaviors.  Such behaviors are not really exceptional and correspond to literature about whistleblowing and subsequent employer retaliation against the whistleblower.  As stated in previous blog posts, corruption always negatively impacts enterprise performance to the detriment of honest and compliant stakeholders, their markets and communities.  Misperceptions and poorly managed anti-corruption measures are the most dangerous elixir to eradicate real corruption.     

If your policies and systems and processes don’t demonstrate the spirit of the words, you are running a fool’s errand. ~  Les Landes

A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity. ~ Dalai Lama

Transparency and full disclosure in the public domain best serves stakeholders and shareholders.  Laws and procedures used to obscure and hide the truth are tools of the legally trained corrupt to escape accountability and further damage whistleblowers, who are often professionally blacklisted and ostracized for their honest revelations.  The corrupt never want a fair fight.  And this has been the case with PGSUK/PGS who have altered the outcome against a whistleblower through wrongful termination from employment.  The termination was facilitated by fraud, forgery, embezzlement, and bribery to buy complicity from lawyers to process illegal records so that the outcome would have all the manifestations of a legal resolution.  I called cheat/bullshit, because I knew full well the hand they were playing.   I know that PGS/PGSUK are knowingly processing forged instruments intended to support a false narrative of events which denies any and all executive wrong-doing.  Principals throughout all levels of the entrusted power hierarchy are also fully aware that their narrative is false and supported by forged records.  If they did not know this at the time, they know this now through my publications.  This is why there has been no public actions, response or recriminations beyond efforts to silence or reduce the reach of my broadcasts through the social media restrictions and blocking.  I + yearn to present my case in a fair legal venue under oath.  However, the principals throughout all levels of the entrusted power hierarchy would rather have the issue remain as it is – their delusion that they escaped with their loot of mischief and disinformation unnoticed and unaccounted.

My issues with Reinhardsen and Pedersen, and several PGS/PGSUK personnel, are not strategic nor visionary.  They are basic character issues attached to my being a target of workplace gang-bullying who was prohibited from using a legally guaranteed process of grievance to complain of health-harming contract, employment law, and policy breaches.  Rather than process my grievance in accordance to published procedure, I was illegally proffered a settlement contract agreement without basis to terminate my employment.  My hired legal advisor(s), Philip Landau and Holly Rushton, with Landau, Zeffertt, and Weir, were compromised and permitted the illegal settlement contract to be executed and for defamatory false instruments be processed to support it.  PGS/PGSUK also engaged their own third-party legal advisor, Rhodri Thomas, of Watson, Farley, and Williams, to setup bogus “without prejudice” talking points also supported by the false instruments without my knowledge.  These fake discussions became the legal record.  The conversations between myself and my legal advisor relating true events and the basis for the grievance were ignored.  My legal counsel advanced a false narrative sparing the PGSUK company directors, Reinhardsen, Gottfred Langseth, and Christin Steen-Nilsen, and secretary, Carl Richards, of any accountability.  They also protected the corrupt bullies.  I have challenged Pedersen to prove me wrong.  I have challenged the PGS board of directors, as well.  However, it appears that their remedy for ending corruption is to deny it, even at the expense of an honest worker and his family.  Do these corrupt agents even take a moment to consider how evil and corrupt their actions really are?

The greater the power, the more need there is for transparency, because if the power is abused, the result can be so enormous. On the other hand, those people who do not have power, we mustn’t reduce their power even more by making them yet more transparent. ~ Julian Assange

I think the first duty of society is justice. ~ Alexander Hamilton

The bodies that appointed Reinhardsen to chair the Statoil board of directors, as well as appointed Pedersen to be CEO and President of PGS did not conduct a thorough due diligence.   Within my blog post article, Boycott Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) (25-Jul-2016), I elaborate on the importance of investigating whistleblowing claims.  In fact, not investigating such claims is a disservice to stakeholders and all victims of corruption.  If Reinhardsen and Pedersen cannot prove, unequivocally, that a contract they were both party to and approved was proffered on a sound legal basis and supported by accurate and legal records, then their simply has been no responsible due diligence.  There has actually been an aiding and abetting of the corrupt and corrupt behaviors.  Such abrogation of entrusted power is a contravention of the legal agency and fiduciary responsibilities these bodies owe stakeholders.  Therefore, it is itself corruption.  Why would any responsible and compliant body accept the numerous blog post articles and Twitter™ feeds alleging corruption to remain unanswered?  How does this serve stakeholders?  In fact, why aren’t these bodies asking for validation of legal compliance?  In reality, this corruption reaches far beyond its impact on the whistleblower.  First, let there be no doubt that the records which PGS/PGSUK are processing as my personal data are forged instruments supporting a false narrative.  Read the evidence within, The Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) Ambush Meeting and the Definition of Fraud (24-May-2016), as well as, The Crimes of @PhilipLandau #London #EmploymentLaw #Solicitor and Petroleum Geo-Services #PGS #CEO #Pedersen (30-Dec-2017)

Many corrupt transgressions have been allowed and rewarded by the fiduciary bodies to protect the corrupt and harm a whistleblower.   The personal data being processed appears accurate only through a legally binding settlement contract agreement fashioned by PGS/PGSUK legal, Watson, Farley and Williams (WFW), and the legal firm who I engaged, Landau, Zeffertt and Weir Solicitors (LZW).  None of the lawyers can explain the legal and compliant process that creates and processes records to support a false narrative.  None of the lawyers can explain how all of the official personal records are not countersigned or validated.  LZW was provided with true and accurate information – a different narrative.  Further, defamation – integrity of personal data – was an issue brought up within the formal grievance.  How is it that the PGS/PGSUK narrative is preserved and my original submitted grievance is destroyed?  Some enticement was provided to LZW and WFW by PGS/PGSUK to knowingly process false data and otherwise disregard normal legal due diligence and risk procedures.  The PGS Compliance forwarded and even signed personnel record documents.  When I filed a complaint with the PGS Compliance Hotline, my complaint was not taken seriously and subsequent e-mails never answered.   This is not transparent nor compliant behavior.  How can it be so difficult for a General Counsel to authenticate the documents being processed in my personnel file?  It is not difficult.  It is illegal.  So, what do the fiduciary bodies do?  They elevate the General Counsel who advanced the forged instruments used to support an illegal contract to become CEO and President of PGS.  They allow the prior CEO and President to escape culpability and be promoted to become Chairman of the Board for the largest Norwegian Company!  This all has happened in low CPI Norway.     

Moral turpitude can be defined as acts of baseness or depravity in the duties which one person owes to another, contrary to the accepted and customary norms.  The Norwegian Government expects all Norwegian businesses to exercise corporate social responsibility (CSR).  The Norwegian Government has both general and more specific expectations relating to CSR pertaining to four (4) core areas:  human rights, worker’s rights, anti-corruption, and the environment.  When fiduciary bodies abrogate their duty of care responsibilities and instead align themselves to protect the corrupt and further damage whistleblowers, this is moral turpitude in practice.  This base reality supersedes perceptions of morality and commitment to eradicate corruption.  The Norwegian people are majority owners of Statoil and should demand thorough due diligence for those entrusted in guiding decisions determining the social and economic future of its citizens.  As a whistleblower, I have never worried about a defamation claim.  The last thing that abusers of power want is to defend their actions in a fair and legal venue.  What has surprised me, however, is how layered the abuse of entrusted power really is within Norway.  I have been surprised by the boards of directors and appointing team’s irresponsible behavior and neglect.  They have abused their power and advanced corruption, along with all the damage it brings with it to the Norwegian people.   Changing a company name serves as a distraction from more important fiduciary responsibilities and decisions.  And this is tragic for everyone except the corrupt privileged executive class who reside above the common law of others, yet hold entrusted power over Norway’s future. 

The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact. ~ Malcolm Muggeridge

Obviously, there’s the temptation to sit back and smile, .. But there’s so much at stake, we have to do our due diligence. ~ Ralph Neas