London stained by Libyan oil?

Nov. 14, 2011 at 11:28 AM
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LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A former elite British soldier and chief executive at Heritage Oil looked for favors in London to gain traction in the Libyan oil sector, the Guardian reports.

Heritage Chief Executive Tony Buckingham made hefty donations to officials in the conservative Tory party in 2010. The local party chairman at the time, Stephen Crouch, was said to have made sizeable contributions to personnel tied to outside Defense Minister Liam Fox, the Guardian reports.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, for his part, is said to have met with executives at Heritage in March just as NATO forces started bombing Libyan targets.

Hague met with Heritage representative Christian Sweeting at a private club in London. Sweeting later provided the British government with information about the situation on the ground in Libya.

Sweeting told the Guardian that he wasn't lobbying the foreign minister but working to "inform him" of the company's ambitions in Libya.

He had, according to documents vetted by the Guardian, asked for special consideration concerning visas to get into Libya.

Heritage recently announced a $20 million deal to take over a Libyan oil services company based in the former rebel capital of Benghazi.

Libya, before the onset of conflict in March, was the No. 3 oil producer in North Africa. The British government had faced earlier claims there were shady deals involving BP's potential work in Libya.

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