Lord Smith of Kelvin former chairman of the vehemently anti-Scottish Independence Weir Group chaired the DevoMax commission-Unfair, unjust or both

ESCO Corporation acquired by Weir Group - Equipment Journal

The Weir Group

The company is a global leader in the design, supply and ongoing service of engineering equipment for the mining, oil and gas, power and industrial sectors and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. With annual sales in excess of 2 billion, it employs around 15,000 people and operates in more than 42 countries.

It maintains manufacturing facilities in North and South America, the UK, mainland Europe, Australia, South Africa, India and China.

Annual profits vary between 300-600 million.

Lord Smith of Kelvin was chairman of the Group between 2002 and 2013.

Weir Group Jobs Worldwide: Weir Oil And Gas Careers - YesiJob

Additional information

The companies main operational thrust in the UK over the next few years (2016-2020)  is to be directed at the development and expansion of Nuclear Power and Fracking

The Group has consistently and actively solicited support to its campaigns against any form of Scottish devolution or independence and although founded and registered in Scotland less than 5% of the Groups total workforce is Scottish based.

The Group is an active member of the networking organisation, “Common Purpose” which provides unique and highly productive opportunities through its extensive connections.

In 2013, a team of leaders undertook specialist leadership development programmes and attended a global leadership conference run by “Common Purpose” which had assembled exceptional senior people from across the Commonwealth to tackle challenges that businesses, governments and society face today with the aim of building global relationships for use in the future. The Weir Groups tentacles of influence spread far and wide.

Job losses at Weir Group: 125 positions to go due to plummeting price of  oil - Daily Record

Iraqi Oil for Food Programme

Trade sanctions against Iraq were introduced after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 but the measures contributed to an increase in the suffering and starvation among the Iraqi population and the UN set up the Oil for Food Programme (OFFP).

From 1996 onwards, Saddam Hussein was allowed to sell oil, but all the receipts were placed in a UN account in Paris. Iraq was then able to use the funds to buy goods approved by the UN for the benefit of its population.

Using its French subsidiary Wemco to administer the deals (because of Iraq’s “Buy British Last” policy), the Weir Group tendered for and won several contracts which involved supplying spare parts for water and oil pumps to Iraq’s North Oil Company and South Oil Company.

Business chiefs relaxed about prospect of Scottish independence | Scotland  | The Times

How the Weir Group worked the scam

Knowing the money could not be paid into an Iraqi bank, it was agreed an Iraqi agent would pay it from his own pocket. When it received the money from the OFFP, the company paid a 10 per cent kickback plus a further 4 per cent for the agent’s services to a fake Geneva-based company, Corsin Finance Ltd. The payments did not arouse suspicion as paying an agent to act on overseas deals was in itself entirely legitimate.

Two meetings were held on 13 and 14 September 2001 at the behest of a group director who was not involved in the OFFP contracts but had become aware of what was going on. At the second meeting, the director gave the go-ahead for the kickbacks despite being told they were illegal. The first payment was made that same day. In total, Weir Group plc secured 16 contracts worth 35 million paying kickbacks of 3 million.

Lord Smith to step down as Weir Group chairman | The Scotsman

2010: Weir Group prosecuted for providing kickbacks to the Iraqi regime

The “Oil For Food Programme” OFFP was put in place by the United Nations UN to ensure sanctions would not punish Iraqi citizens for the excesses of their government.

The Weir Group agreed on supply contracts heavily overcharging the programme, between 2001 and 2003 diverting around £3.1 million away from humanitarian aid to the coffers of Saddam Hussein.

The company was fined £3 million. The judge said he was taking into account the company’s guilty plea and its willingness to pay back the £9.4 million profits it made from the deals and the £3.1 million it had diverted from the OFFP together with a £1.4 million sum it had paid to its Iraqi agent for acting as a conduit for the illegal payments.

Weir Group PLC put profits before ethics; when told it had to pay a 10 per cent kickback or it wouldn’t win contracts, any scruples about UN sanctions disappeared.

Not one, of the more than 50 employees of the Weir Group involved was identified or pursued through the courts. Despite the fact that a number of individuals from other UK companies charged with similar offences of corruption and violation of sanctions, were charged, tried and punished. Moreover, though most of those at the helm at the time had moved on, many secured prestigious posts elsewhere.

In a statement explaining its decision to keep individuals out of the frame, the Crown Office said: “In the course of this investigation it became clear that the decision to pay kickbacks to the Iraqi government and to pay fees to the Iraqi agent, was taken at Weir Group level. It was, therefore, deemed that the most appropriate course of action was to prosecute The Weir Group plc rather than any individual who may have been involved in these events.”

A critic of the Crown Office said “the fines levied against The Weir Group was a pittance when set against its overall turnover. And they will simply be incorporated into the annual profit and loss account reducing the corporation tax bill. The fines should have been made the personal responsibility of the directors which would have added bite to the punishment.”

Lord Smith of Kelvin, Weir Group’s chairman, said the judgement “finally drew a line” under the prosecution investigation. “What happened back in 2001 was wrong and we accept full responsibility”. 

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27 August 2014: Weir Group chief executive canvasses support of business leaders to his cause.

Announcing their opposition to a yes vote, 133 business leaders said: “Our economic ties inside the United Kingdom are very close and support almost 1 million Scottish jobs and the rest of the UK is Scotland’s biggest market by far. Our conclusion is that the business case for independence has not been made.”

Their intervention was coordinated by Keith Cochrane, chief executive of the Scottish engineering company the Weir Group and coincided with a campaigning visit to Scotland by David Cameron.

In a follow up on BBC Radio Scotland, Cochrane said he expected Scotland to face higher interest rates and higher costs for business if there was a yes vote. “Scottish business is deeply frustrated at the lack of answers to some basic questions which are pretty fundamental to business as we look forward. The economy is clearly one of the most significant concerns of voters and we felt it was important that Scottish business contributed to the debate. These are real businesses accounting for real jobs.”

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RIVALS: Weir Group chief Keith Cochrane (left) “Better Together” and Clyde Blowers Jim McColl (right)  “Yes”

 12 September 2014: Weir Group to move Glasgow HQ if Scotland votes ‘yes’

Chief Executive Keith Cochrane has said that the group could not guarantee that it would keep its Glasgow headquarters if Scotland became independent after the referendum, although the group’s three service centres would remain in the country.

27 November 2014: Lord Smith of Kelvin the former chairman of the Weir group which championed the anti-independence to chair the DevoMax commission

The Smith Commission issued its report on the shape and form of the devolved powers promised to Scotland by the political parties at Westminster in the days before and after the Scottish Independence referendum.

UK's Weir Group to divest entire Oil & Gas division for $405m

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Westminster politicians took our oil and gas and our wind and wave power and now the final indignity. Our land.

Carbon and peatland in Scotland | GRID-Arendal

Climate Change

Scottish peatlands sustain the bulk of Scotlands wildlife and provide storage and filtration systems ensuring a plentiful supply of clean water.

In addition, they store around 2 billion tonnes of carbon and are capable of holding many billions of tonnes more but not without a major investment of finance which is well beyond the means of a devolved Scottish government.

So, once again the future health and well being of Scots is in the hands of Westminster politicians.

Scotlands climate change prevention targets are also subsumed into the UK target and this places an extra burden on Scotland since the bulk of the peatlands in England are extensively damaged, many areas beyond repair due to massive drainage, peat extraction and burning over many centuries.

Scottish peatlands have suffered damage but not to the same extent. But it is calculated that around 25 million tonnes of co2 are released back into the atmosphere each year by Scotlands damaged peatlands a situation that needs to be rectified without undue delay.

The drawback is a lack of government funding. Around £1 billion is needed now and expectations are that £30 million might be made available.

Trees also absorb large amounts of carbon and store it in their wood but as in the case of the peatlands, huge areas of Scottish native woodland has been destroyed over hundreds of years and must be replaced.

Attracting new money is imperative to success so that the afforestation of Scotlands woodlands can be assured and rewilding measures will need to include investment opportunities for forestry management affording the production of conifer trees for the provision of wood to be used on sustainable projects.


Departing from the European Market returned the UK to World Free Trade ideals and all its benefits and pitfalls.

A financial pot returned was £4.50 Billion previously handed over to the EC each year to provide financial support of the EC farming policy which only encouraged the inefficient use of farming land and the production of unwanted produce.

The bulk of the pot will be withheld by the Westminster government and farming grants will be much reduced due to the commitments to trade agreements put in place post Brexit with countries worldwide for the supply of produce.

The foregoing pressures will force many small farmers off the land and large estate holders will also feel the pinch as their grants dry up.

Mapped: Scotland's planet-saving carbon 'sinks' | HeraldScotland

Scottish Land Commission

Farmers identified items of concern that they believe are relevant to the maintenance and development of the tenant farming sector in Scotland, namely: support and carbon trading.

Bolstered by the recent announcement of a new government-appointed advisory board to oversee proposals for future agriculture support, farming leaders’ attention is focused on future support for the industry.

Farmer groups have also advised the Scottish Government on how to cut emissions and the new advisory board is committed to the creation of a package of pilot measures as part of the Government’s approach.

The aim is to meet the Government’s climate change obligation to transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. This means the adoption of measures to reduce greenhouse gasses:

Optimise slurry and manure usage and storage.

Increase innovation in areas such as feedstuffs and use of fertilisers, causing less disturbance to soils.

Support carbon sequestration and storage through planting trees, restoring peatland, or growing biomass.

The Clearances

Scotland is on the cusp of a boom in the purchase of many millions of acres of Scotlands highland and lowland estates, peatlands and forests with businesses looking to invest billions to meet their climate change commitments.

The land grab is being led by hedge funds and large conglomerates that are seeking to offset their carbon emissions with their purchases.

Authorising a transfer of title will be subject to the approval of the Scottish Land Commission who will insist on rewilding measures including extensive tree planting and peatland restoration supported by financial grants adding value to the land boosting profits.


Westminster politicians took our oil and gas and our wind and wave power and the final indignity. Our land.

Scotland Peatland map_carbon class (A2477850) | Scotland's Nature