Kwasi Kwarteng held meetings with senior executives of Saudi Arabian oil firms that were undisclosed due to an ‘administrative error’, according to Guardian reports.
Documents released using the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) show Kwarteng held meetings with the chief executive of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer; the chief executive of Sabic, the world’s fourth largest petrochemical company; and the chair of Alfanar Group, an industrial conglomerate.
Transparency disclosures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not contain any reference to meetings during the period Kwarteng was in Saudi Arabia when originally published.
According to the Guardian, the chancellor was flown around the kingdom by Saudi Aramco, which operates a number of helicopters, jets and airports.
The flights provided the opportunity for the oil company to lobby the minister then responsible for the UK’s energy policy.
Kwarteng also met with Amin Nasser, the chief executive of Saudi Aramco, at Ithra, a cultural centre owned and operated by Aramco.
Polly Truscott, Amnesty International UK’s foreign affairs expert, said: “For years, we’ve been concerned that Saudi human rights abuses were being downplayed by successive ministers to clear the way for new trade deals, including massive arms shipments. This briefing seems to confirm those fears.”
In a statement, a government spokesperson blamed the failure to declare the meetings on an “administrative oversight” and said the data would be updated.
They added: “The briefing being referred to is only one part of wider briefing [Kwarteng] received on Saudi Arabia, which included content on human rights, recent political developments in Saudi Arabia and UK-Saudi engagement activity.”
In his first mini-budget, Kwarteng refused to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas firms “to pay for the energy price freeze”.
Instead, he mounted the debt on the British public in a move that nearly bankrupted the country.
Liz Truss has also moved to ban solar panels on farms.
Reacting to the news, one person stressed: “This has NOTHING to do with fossil fuel companies donating to the Tories.”