“Two former Conservative prime ministers lobbied a Middle Eastern royal family to award a multi-billion dollar oil contract to a company headed by a major Tory donor, the Guardian has established.
In March 2017, while in Downing Street, Theresa May wrote to the Bahraini prime minister to support the oil firm Petrofac while it was bidding to win the contract from the Gulf state.
Two months earlier, and just six months after stepping down as prime minister, David Cameron promoted the company during a two-day visit to Bahrain where he met the state’s crown prince.
Cameron was flown back to Britain on a plane belonging to Ayman Asfari, Petrofac’s co-founder, chief executive and largest shareholder. Petrofac did not ultimately win the contract.
Asfari and his wife, Sawsan, have donated almost £800,000 to the Conservative party since 2009. The donations were made in a personal capacity.
Documents obtained by the Guardian raise questions about how governments should best manage the perceived potential conflicts of interest generated by donations from business figures to political parties.
The government said it was routine for ministers to support British businesses bidding for major foreign contracts. Petrofac said official support had been obtained through entirely proper channels.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been investigating Petrofac over suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering for at least two years. …”