An oil firm whose chief executive has bankrolled the Conservatives won exclusive rights to trade with Libyan rebels during the conflict, following secret talks involving the British Government.
The deal with Vitol was said to have been masterminded by Alan Duncan, the former oil trader turned junior minister, who has close business links to the oil firm and was previously a director of one of its subsidiaries.
Mr Duncan’s private office received funding from the head of Vitol before the general election. Ian Taylor, the company’s chief executive and a friend of Mr Duncan, has given more than £200,000 to the Conservatives.
Vitol is thought to be the only oil firm to have traded with the rebels during the Libyan conflict. Oil industry sources said that other firms including BP, Shell and Glencore had not been approached over the deal. One well-placed source said this was “very surprising” because other companies would have been keen to be involved.
Last night the Coalition was under pressure to disclose details of Mr Duncan’s role in securing the deal, worth about £618million. The firm is thought to have supplied fuel and associated products to the rebels and traded oil on their behalf.
The controversial firm has previously been fined for breaching sanctions and paid money to Arkan, the Serbian warlord, allegedly for oil contracts.
Sources at other oil firms described the situation as “highly unusual”…
Last night, Downing Street officials said there had been no impropriety…“We are confident that the correct procedures were followed.”
Vitol declined to comment. However, sources close to the firm said that, although the Government had “clearly been helpful” in facilitating the deal, the American government and others were also involved…
Well, that guarantees that all ethical standards were observed. Right?