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By Jean Eaglesham, Anousha Sakoui and Kate Burgess
John Napier, chairman of Royal & SunAlliance, the UK insurer, wrote in a personal capacity to President Obama to accuse him of possible “double standards” in his “somewhat prejudicial and personal” criticisms of BP and its chief executive. “There is a sense here that these attacks are being made because BP is British,” Mr Napier wrote. He said US banks had not suffered from the same personalised attacks in spite of the global economic damage caused by their “irresponsible, unchecked greed and avarice”.
The White House on Thursday dismissed suggestions that it was too harsh on BP or that it risked damaging relations with the UK. “If anything, we have been called guilty for not being overly dramatic, for not showing flashes of anger,” said Robert Gibbs, The White House spokesman. “I think the criticism that somehow we’ve been too harsh, I don’t think that matches up with the reality or the rhetoric that we’ve used.”