Originally posted by Glen Owen - Daily Mail - July 4, 2010
David Cameron’s new ‘cost-cut tsar’ faced embarrassment last night after it was revealed that his former male escort lover was helping a campaigning American lawyer to assemble a legal case against him.
Lord Browne of Madingley, the ex-chief executive of BP, is at the centre of litigation in the United States alleging that cost cutting made while he was in charge of the oil giant led to disasters such as the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Last week it was announced that Lord Browne, 62, was being placed in chargeof finding the first wave of £6.2billion public spending cuts promised in the Budget.
It is his most high-profile job since being forced to resign from BP in 2007 after being caught lying to the High Court about his Canadian lover, Jeff Chevalier.
During their four-year relationship, Mr Chevalier enjoyed dinners with a number of high-ranking politicians, including Tony Blair, and was privy to highly sensitive company details.
Now Brent Coon, a Texan lawyer who is levelling a raft of actions against BP, has contacted Mr Chevalier to ask him to help prove that cost-cutting during Lord Browne’s time in charge led to fatal safety lapses.
Mr Coon has already mounted actions against BP over an explosion at a Texas refinery in 2005 which killed 14 workers.
He forced the firm to release documents detailing cost-cutting at the plant during Lord Browne’s time as chief executive, which were ruled to be a factor in the disaster. BP was later forced to pay more than $2billion compensation.
Now Mr Coon is focusing on the explosion at the company’s Deepwater Horizon rig in April, which has caused the worst environmental crisis in US history.
The incident has been a PR disaster for the company and Lord Browne’s successor Tony Hayward – BP’s market value has collapsed and there have been diplomatic tensions between London and Washington.
Last month, Mr Coon met officials from the US Department of Justice, who are considering their own action against BP for tolerating a ‘systemic safety problem’ across its operations.
Lord Browne’s downfall came three years ago after he obtained an injunction against The Mail on Sunday to prevent reports of Mr Chevalier’s account of their relationship.
It later transpired that he lied to a judge by claiming Mr Chevalier had a drug problem and by claiming he had met him while exercising in Battersea Park – when the truth was that he had found him on a gay website.
Neither Mr Chevalier nor Mr Coon were available last night for comment.