The U.S government can’t force troubled British energy giant BP to defer shareholder dividends or establish an escrow fund for victims of the Gulf oil spill, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNBC Tuesday, noting that any effort by the White House to do so is merely “political posturing.”
“I can’t see any way in which we can force BP to do it,” Giuliani told CNBC. He was in Houston to speak at the Oil and Gas Investor Energy Capital conference.
Giuliani, also a former U.S. attorney and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, remarked that BP must pursue the interests of spill victims before shareholders on its own accord.
"It’s a heck of a choice to make," he said.
Giuliani also sharply criticized President Obama's response to the oil disaster, in particular the presidents' failure to yet meet with BP CEO Tony Hayward. The White House this week announced that President Obama will hold his first face-to-face meeting with the oil chief on Wednesday.
“The reality is the government has let us down in not really leading a coherent effort to deal with this…no matter whether you favor President Obama or you don’t—if you think this is coherent, you are living on a different planet," Giuliani said.
BP's US-traded shares closed up 2.3 percent in New York Tuesday, at $31.40 a share. Shares were lower in London.