Roman Polanski might want to start working up a sequel to The Ghost Writer. The British press is ravenously anticipating the airing on Monday of a TV documentary that will unearth new details about the business activities of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. What's been revealed so far is enough to raise eyebrows.
The former prime minister operates a “Byzantine” network of businesses and charities, The Sunday Telegraph reports, brokering deals for major banks and other heavy-hitters throughout the Middle East and in Africa, even as he retains statesman-like status in attempts to broker peace in the region. Blair's business activities reportedly earn him more than 7 million pounds per year.
And Blair met at least six times after leaving office with Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the recently deposed Libyan strongman who was trying to resurrect his public image. (The meeting wouldn't have been too difficult to arrange; Blair employed three people who also worked for the U.S. consulting group to which Qaddafi was paying millions to clean up his image, The Telegraph reports.)
And Monday's broadcast of Channel 4's Dispatches, an investigative news-magazine, will focus on Blair's role in “two multi-billion-dollar contracts in Palestine,” the Guardian reports.
Blair has “financially enriched himself more than any ex-Prime Minister ever,” Dispatches notes in its advance of their broadcast. The show will take a particular focus at Blair's dual responsibilities as both the official envoy of the Quartet attempting to broker Middle East peace, and as head of Tony Blair Associates, which is doing business, with little disclosure, throughout the same region.
More from The Telegraph:
Mr Blair’s organisation, a Byzantine web of highly specialised limited partnerships and parallel companies, is baffling in its structure.
He has a commercial consultancy, Tony Blair Associates, and jobs advising JP Morgan, the US bank, and Zurich Financial Services, the Swiss insurer. He has set up two major international charities, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
Much of Mr Blair’s income has been funnelled through a structure called Windrush Ventures, which also runs and pays for the Office of Tony Blair in Grosvenor Square, London.
From here, Mr Blair and his staff coordinate his commercial activities, reputedly bringing in £7 million a year. The organisation lets Mr Blair’s roles overlap. A role fostering good governance in Africa, designed to combat corruption, also establishes excellent contacts with local leaders with the power to award contracts.
His diplomatic role as Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet (the UN, Russia, US, and EU) also gives Mr Blair unfettered access to the leading political players in the region. It also allows just the sort of introduction a client might later require.
The Dispatches documentary will air at 8 p.m. Monday in the UK.