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MI6 Chief takes top BP post

Posted by George Freund on July 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Top spy takes early retirement from MI6... only to be hired by BP as highly-paid lobbyist


Last updated at 8:57 AM on 17th July 2011

A top spy is at the centre of a row after being hired by BP as a highly-paid lobbyist immediately after taking early retirement.

The former MI6 officer, a Russia and China specialist, has been given an influential role at the heart of the oil giant, where he is believed to receive double his previous salary.

His appointment has raised fears of a ‘revolving-door’ policy in which former spies are taken on by companies soon after leaving the security services so their knowledge can be tapped for commercial gain.

Secret Service: The MI6 building at Vauxhall in London

The former spy is one of at least 12 senior MI6 officers, called the ‘Dirty Dozen’, who had six figure pay-offs as part of a confidential deal with the Treasury when they accepted early retirement earlier this year.

The Mail on Sunday has agreed not to publish the man’s name following a request by the Government’s Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee. He joined BP in May, just weeks after leaving MI6, based in London, having received Government clearance.

Concern: Paul Flynn MP a member of the Commons Public Administration Committee

Labour MP Paul Flynn, a member of the Commons Public Administration Committee, which monitors the conduct of civil servants, said: ‘This seems to be a very swift move from a position where he would have known many state secrets.

‘Possibly he should have had a cooling-off period before moving into the commercial sector.’

Tory MP Nick de Bois, who is also on the committee, said: ‘It can be unfortunate if there is any appearance of a revolving-door policy, which is why increased transparency is always to be welcomed.’

Other former MI6 officers hired by BP include Sir Mark Allen, a special adviser since 2004 on their Middle East interests.

While at MI6, Sir Mark brokered negotiations to rehabilitate Colonel Gaddafi with the West and the release of the Lockerbie bomber. He hosted a series of meetings at the Travellers Club in Pall Mall.

After joining BP, he flew to Libya with the company’s then chief Lord Browne to negotiate with Gaddafi.

Sir Mark is still active in protecting BP’s assets in Libya and last year he was summoned to appear before a US senate committee investigating the oil giant’s role in the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

The new ex-MI6 recruit’s contacts and knowledge will be invaluable to BP, which has invested billions of pounds in Russia and other big oil and gas-producing countries.

Groundwork: Prime Minister Tony Blair meets Colonel Moammar Gadhafi in 2007. MI6 was closely involved as the UK sought rapprochement with Libya

The company’s joint venture with three Russian oligarchs, TNK-BP, owns more than 200 lucrative oil licences and six refineries and has a presence in eight Russian regions, notably western Siberia.

BP’s other major Russian partner is Rosneft, most of which is owned by the state. Earlier this year BP announced ‘a strategic global alliance’ with Rosneft and invested £650 million in the company.

In China, BP’s major asset is a 34 per cent stake in Yacheng gas field in the South China Sea. In January, BP signed a new agreement with China National Oil Corporation for more deep-water exploration in the South China Sea.

Headquarters: The front entrance of the world Headquarters of British Petroleum Company PLC at No1 Finsbury Circus in the City of London

A Whitehall source and BP said that the latest MI6 appointment had been cleared by the Government.

BP said he would lead a team of up to five executives advising the company on political issues that have implications for the group. ‘He left the Foreign Office at the end of March before joining us in May,’ said a BP spokesman.

A senior Whitehall source said: ‘The voluntary exit scheme was in response to bulges in senior management grades. The terms offered were agreed with the Cabinet Office and Treasury.

'The figures were those normally provided to senior personnel, fully consistent with the Civil Service pension scheme.’

Categories: New World Order