Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Hookers, spies and loads of cash...how BP spent £45m to win 'Wild East' oil rights
UK Daily Mail
Sunday May 13, 2007
Comment: This story appeared early today on the Daily Mail website. It has since been pulled without explanation. If correct, this story could bring down the entire British government which is probably why it was immediately subject to a D notice - a British government order to censor a story.
BP executives working for Lord Browne spent millions of pounds on champagne-fuelled sex parties to help secure lucrative international oil contracts.
The company also worked with MI6 to help bring about changes in foreign governments, according to an astonishing account of life inside the oil giant.
Les Abrahams, who led BP's successful bid for a multi-million-pound deal with one of the former Soviet republics, today claims that Browne - who was forced to resign as chief executive last month after the collapse of legal proceedings against The Mail on Sunday - presided over an "anything goes" regime of sexual licence, spying and financial sweeteners.
The hospitality continued in London, where prostitutes were hired on the BP credit card to entertain visiting Azerbaijanis.
Mr Abrahams, an engineer by training, joined BP in 1991, just as the disintegration of the Soviet Union had triggered a "new gold rush" by oil multi-nationals seeking a share of the 200 billion barrels of oil reserves beneath the Caspian Sea.
While employed by BP, Mr Abrahams says he was persuaded to work for MI6 by John Scarlett, now head of the service but then its head of station in Moscow.
He says he was passing information to Scarlett in faxes and at one-to-one meetings in the Russian capital.
He also claims that BP was working closely with MI6 at the highest levels to help it to win business in the region and influence the political complexion of governments.
Mr Abrahams worked for BP's XFI unit - Exploring Frontiers International - which specialises in opening new markets in often unstable parts of the world.
He said Lord Browne, then BP's head of exploration, allocated a budget of £45 million to cover the first year's costs of the Baku operation.