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Lies come back to haunt disgraced BP chief

Stephen Beard May 2, 2007
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The former boss of the British oil giant BP could face charges of perjury. Lord Browne resigned yesterday after it emerged that he had lied in court about his gay partner. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: John Browne was already due to leave the company in July. But his fellow directors forced him out of office early after he’d been criticized by a High Court judge for lying.

Browne had sought an injunction from the court against a newspaper. He was trying to stop the publication of an interview with his former gay lover.

His lie about the details of the relationship has cost him his job and a severance package worth $30 million. It could also cost him his liberty. The newspaper is now effectively calling for his prosecution.

It’s a humiliating end to a glittering career, says analyst David Buik:

DAVID BUIK: I hope history will judge him fairly. It’s very tragic that his private life should come and interfere with the legacy — of which, for most of it, he deserves a huge amount of credit.

But other observers suggest Brown’s reputation has been more seriously tarnished by BP’s safety failures, which led to 15 deaths in the Texas City refinery fire.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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