Blair uses envoy post to support billionaire life-style, TV doc claims

on 16 Comments

A forthcoming British TV documentary claims that Tony Blair is making tens of millions of pounds a year by exploiting his position as the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East. According to a report on the documentary in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, Blair’s Middle East financial activities apparently represent a glaring conflict of interest with his responsibilities as Quartet envoy.  This conflict would not be tolerated if Blair were a British, IMF or World Bank official, according to the newspaper.

The new documentary, “The Wonderful World of Tony Blair,” claims that the former British Prime Minister has earned vast sums as a consultant for the U.S. banking giant JP Morgan, British Gas, the former Libyan government and QTEL, a Qatari telecommunication company, among others. 

According to the TV film, Blair’s company, Tony Blair Associates, earned an eye-popping £27 million for providing advice to the Kuwaiti government on its future economic policy.  The Telegraph characterized this payment as exorbitant, implying strongly that the intent of the transaction was not fully disclosed.  The Kuwaiti deal was secret for two years, and its details and the amount paid Blair have still not been officially acknowledged.

The Telegraph criticizes Blair for spending only a week or less on his Quartet job and the rest of the time making use of his position as envoy to become an enormously rich man.  Here is how the newspaper describes Blair’s QTEL (Ataxia Mobile) deal in which he helped the Qatari company set up a mobile telephone system in the West Bank:

Let’s take the example of the deal trumpeted by Mr. Blair as one of his greatest achievements in his role as Quartet Representative [emphases mine] – his success in persuading the Israeli government to open up radio frequencies so that the phone company Ataxia Mobile can operate in the West Bank.

Ataxia Mobile’s chief executive officer Bassam Hanoun cannot praise Mr. Blair too highly. He told us that the Ataxia network had been built, “but it was dead, not operational” – until Mr. Blair’s forceful intervention with Israeli ministers.

Yet Wataniya’s owner, the Qatari telecoms giant QTEL, is a major client of one of the former prime minister’s most significant paymasters, JP Morgan. When QTEL bought Ataxia Mobile’s parent company, Ataxia International, in 2007, the company did so with a $2 billion loan that JP Morgan helped to arrange, and the bank stood to make huge profits once the radio frequencies were released.

Update:  The Telegraph has followed the report above with an investigative piece on the varied business empire of Mr. Blair.

About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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16 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    September 26, 2011, 11:24 am

    IMO Bliar behaved like a tin-pot leader of a third world country, once in power became totally seduced by the wealth of many he met and determined to feather his own nest. The interests of the British nation and people came second to that aim. His planning for wealth post-office was almost visible in many of the decisions he was taking, not least Iraq. Remember, when he came to office, he had a large mortgage on house worth (then) some £350k and not an awful lot else.

  2. upsidedownism
    September 26, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Blair is a Zionist. He obviously sold out to the British Zionist lobby in order to get elected. Lord Levy, the chief fundraiser for the Labour Party during Blair’s leadership, was also the chief fund raiser for Israel. Levy was almost jailed for abusing his position. Blair embraced the invasion of Iraq, probably because for one thing is was so good for israel. this guy is bad.

    • lysias
      September 26, 2011, 7:03 pm

      Robert Harris, when he was a journalist, was quite close to Blair and did a lot of reporting on him. His roman à clef The Ghost is about a Blair-like figure every one of whose actions benefits the U.S. and whose career, it turns out, was advanced all along by the CIA because his wife was a secret agent for the CIA.

      I’ve long suspected that the Swiss arrested Roman Polanski as a way of currying favor with the U.S. when they were being pressured over Swiss bank secrecy. Polanski, after all, had just turned the Harris novel into the movie The Ghostwriter and it was about to be released. Then, after the Swiss and the U.S. Justice Department had struck a deal over Swiss bank secrecy, the Swiss released Polanski.

      I’ve always wondered about the sudden and untimely death by a heart attack of 54-year-old Labour Party leader John Smith in 1994. It was that death that cleared the way for Blair to become Labour Party leader, at a time when a Labour Party victory in the next election was predictable.

  3. Eva Smagacz
    September 26, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Another visit to Israel, another prize.
    Prize in 2009 was worth cool $1000000,- .

    I wonder how much he collected this time:

    e himself does not mention it:

    But for glimpse on prize, you have go to Internet:

    • Chaos4700
      September 26, 2011, 1:18 pm

      Working for Israel is easily the most profitable industry on the face of the Earth, apparently.

      • DBG
        September 26, 2011, 2:02 pm

        another lie Chaos, Tony Blair is not employed by the state of Israel. You are racking up the falsehoods today.

        if the truth interests you:

      • Chaos4700
        September 26, 2011, 9:06 pm

        Oh no. He’s just being PAID by them that’s all.

      • straightline
        September 27, 2011, 7:41 am

        Are we talking about truth and the murdoch press in the same breath?

      • straightline
        September 27, 2011, 8:03 am

        Didn’t see the declaration of a conflict of interest there. Son of owner of paper is Blair’s godson.

  4. PeaceThroughJustice
    September 26, 2011, 2:33 pm

    “the deal trumpeted by Mr. Blair as one of his greatest achievements in his role as Quartet Representative …”
    I’m not sure why Tony is so proud of himself. Israel made Abbas drop consideration of the Goldstone Report in the GA in order to get those mobile phone frequencies.

    At the October meeting in Ramallah, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told Abbas that if he did not ask for a deferral of the vote on the critical report on last year’s military operation, Israel would turn the West Bank into a “second Gaza.” Diskin, who reports directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened to revoke the easing of restrictions on movement within the West Bank that had been implemented earlier last year. He also said Israel would withdraw permission for mobile phone company Wataniya to operate in the Palestinian Authority. That would have cost the PA tens of millions of dollars in compensation payments to the company.

    edit: no. actually I see that this threat to cancel the frequencies may have come AFTER their granting in 2009

  5. gazacalling
    September 26, 2011, 2:40 pm

    This has the ring of truth to it. The word on the street in Jerusalem when I was there was that Blair and his crew were racking up huge bar tabs.

  6. Les
    September 26, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Before the Arab Spring, Blair had signed on as go between between Abbas, Netanyahu, and Mubarak to ensure that natural gas in the Mediterranean off Gaza would be delivered to Israel at a good price for Israel of course and with no small profit for Blair. If you ever want to hire a purchasing agent, Blair’s got the credentials so long as he is properly rewarded for the purchase of his statesmanship.

  7. Real Jew
    September 26, 2011, 6:16 pm

    He might as well make some good out of the most utterly ineffective and bias org in ME history

  8. Antidote
    September 27, 2011, 12:31 am

    We need more anti-Blairism.

  9. Erasmus
    September 27, 2011, 7:08 am

    TONY BLAIR – The ME Quartet’s Special Envoy with a miserable ZERO- PEACE PERFORMANCE needs an URGENT REPLACEMENT – ASAP!!
    Irrespective of the TELEGRAPH’s investigative findings wrt TB’s Middle East financial activities and a glaring conflict of interest with his responsibilities as Quartet envoy, I have wondered for a long time already, that Blair’s impressive ZERO PERFORMANCE as a constructive, forward leading facilitator of a substantive political dialogue and I-P-conflict negotiations, has not found the due interest with Mondoweiss contributors which it obviously deserves.
    I like to challenge the Telegraphs statement, that “He has made some progress” , and I am not surprised that the Telegraph remains totally silent about, what that progress is / should be. The G.W. Bush appointee, Tony Blair has not produced any good at all (apart for his own kitty, and, most likely, to satisfy his personal narcissism needs) and one can only wonder what on earth made the other ME Quartet members agree to such a choice of a representative.
    What credentials did Tony Blair have to qualify him for the ME Quartet job and task of promoting a genuine peace process??
    Perhaps: Being the ex- prime minister of the erstwhile colonial power in Palestine which left (also there) their international mandate and colonial history in a hurry and a complete mess?
    Or: His staunch upholding of the “special historic British-USA alliance!?
    Or: Many years of No-Fly-Zone engagement of the RAF and crippling food sanctions against the Iraqi population?
    Or: by pushing and dragging the British war machinery into an illegal Iraq – war by belying British citizen and the world about Iraq’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction?
    Tony Bliar has indeed thoroughly earned the well known misspelling of his family name.
    From own experience and many conversations with Palestinians, both private individuals and office holders like town majors I can confirm the Telegraph article’s observation when stating that ..” we found very few Palestinians who were prepared to speak well of him…”).
    His personal and political credibility and reputation in the entire ME is sooo negative and widespread that Blair must be regarded a veritable liability. And neither his conversion to Roman Catholicism nor the activities around the TB Faith Foundation and his related religious verbal contributions could change this. He can not be considered an honest broker in the i-P-conflict because of his strong pro-Israel bias.

    From all evidence at my disposal over the last 3 years, Blair’s non-delivery record does not even justify the operational expenditures for his office at the Jerusalem American Colony Hotel, travel expenditures and allowances, not to speak of any emoluments he may “earn” for his envoy position.
    What is needed: His URGENT REPLACEMENT ! As soon as possible!

  10. TheAZCowboy
    October 1, 2011, 1:19 pm

    Ex-PM Blair.

    Kind-of like a ‘Iraq CPA Paul Brember III’ with his brains shot out.

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