Tony Blair's Gaddafi Dealings Draw Concerns
The Telegraph reports that Blair, following his leave from office, visited the toppled head-of-state six times, once after the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
Among the numerous visits: Blair flew to Libya in January 2009, when J.P. Morgan – the investment firm paying Blair $3.1 million for his work as a senior adviser to the company – was trying to spearhead a deal where state-owned Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) would loan money to Russian oligarch-owned aluminum company Rusal. J.P. Morgan has denied allegations of Blair’s involvement.
The Guardian elaborates on the source of the news and raises doubts regarding J.P. Morgan’s denial that Blair had knowledge of their dealings:
Emails obtained by anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness and seen by the Guardian reveal JP Morgan's vice chairman, Lord Renwick, invited the then vice chairman of LIA, Mustafa Zarti, to "finalise the terms of the mandate concerning Rusal before Mr Blair's visit to Tripoli which is scheduled to take place on around 22 January".
The meeting went ahead, but a spokesman for Blair denied the former prime minister had been involved in the proposed Rusal deal. A spokesman for JP Morgan said Blair had no knowledge of the proposal but could not explain why Blair's visit to Gaddafi was raised in the email.
Blair’s association with J.P. Morgan also raises questions over whether Blair’s diplomatic moves within Israel and Palestine have had an anterior motive.
While acting as a representative for the Quartet on the Middle East, a group comprised of the U.S., U.N., the E.U. and Russia mediating the Israel Palestine peace process, Blair convinced Israel to open radio frequencies so that phone company Wataniya could do business in the West Bank.
Following the move, Wataniya grew exponentially and went on to “capture” 23% of the market. Those concerned over the move point to J.P. Morgan’s dealings with Wataniya’s parent company Qtel, particularily a $2 billion dollar loan crafted in part by J.P. Morgan so Qtel could buy Wataniya.
Blair also called for gas production development of the coast of Gaza, in an area under the supervision of BG Group, another J.P. Morgan client. J.P. Morgan denies Blair knew of either Wataniya’s or BG Group’s association with the bank.
Reach Aaron Liu here.
Follow him on Twitter.
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy Neon Tommy News Alerts.