June 18, 2009

Lloyd's of London Chief Urged to Cut Burma Business Links with Total - Shame On You!

Guardian UK
Lloyd's chief urged to cut Burma links with Total
Nick Mathiason, business correspondent
Sunday November 2, 2008

Lloyd's of London chairman Lord Levene is facing calls to resign as a director of French oil giant Total because of the firm's pivotal role as a business partner of the oppressive military junta that controls Burma.

Levene, a City grandee who has long faced criticism for failing to advise Lloyd's syndicates not to reinsure the Burmese rulers' shipping and aviation interests, was recently reappointed as a Total director for another three-year term. Total supplies the Burmese government with an estimated $1bn in revenue through its oil and gas ventures.

John Bercow, the Conservative MP who is chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for democracy in Burma, said: 'By its massive investment in Burma, Total props up one of the most barbaric dictatorships in the world and this is to its eternal discredit. It is a great sadness that Lord Levene, a businessman of distinction, has sullied himself by becoming a director of this company.'

Labour MEP Glenys Kinnock said: 'If he searches his conscience, Lord Levene must conclude he should discontinue his position with the company, or use his position to secure Total's withdrawal from a country currently ruled by evil.'

Levene said he was not considering resigning from Total. He stated that his directorship at Total did not 'sully' his reputation nor affect his views on issuing guidance to Lloyd's managing agents and brokers dealing with Burma. And he rejected the argument that revenues from oil and gas, as well as Lloyd's reinsurance of key infrastructure owned by the Burmese junta, help it retain power. [Unbelievable BULLSH*T statement! Who is Lloyd's paying? Lloyd's is responsible for keeping the beast healthy and wealthy!]

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