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Sunday, 18 September 2011

The other way to make money in the Emerging Markets

  • Tony Blair has been paid £2 million a year since 2008 by JP Morgan to source business from country leaders and other contacts.  Don't believe the guff about "advice".  The man has such a poor grasp of such terms as truth, honesty and morality that no sensible bank, howver venal would trust Blair's objectivity. 
  • Blair writes letters to set up his marketing trips by sending out letters on notepaper headed "Office of the Quartet Representative", although his business trips had nothing to do with his so called peacekeeping role.
  • Blair made 3 trips to Libya, 2 before the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, and one after.
  • JP Morgan now manage more than $500 million of assets for the Libyan Investment Authority.  This is probably worth at least $10 million a year to JPM in management fees (2% of assets under management). They probably also earn more in upside sharing arrangements.  A typical arrangement is 2% + 20% of upside.
  • You, dear tax payer, get to pick up the cost of security with Blair's police entourage and accommodation at the British embassy for Blair while he is on his business trips.
If the whole exercise were above board (I doubt it), then it ight be excusable if Blair was trying to win business for British companies.  But he isn't.  Rather than applying his British taxpayer funded experience to help British companies, he sells out to the bank that will fill his pockets with the most gold.

No doubt he will claim that his dealings were above board and had nothing to do with the release of Megrahi.  On the other hand the LIA had no particular reason to put any business JPM's way, except that it might influence Blair to press some friends on the matter.  More iportantly, it showed the more money grubbing members of the British government that there was a source of ready cash in Libya in return for favourable deals, which goes a long way to explain how the Megrahi deal might have happened and Mandelson's new £8 million house, not to mention TB's big house in Connaught Square (and the house at the back) and a lot of other property.

In an interview with a Libyan TV station at the time of the Megrahi release, Gaddafi's son Saif Al-Islam claimed that the issue of Megrahi had been raised repeatedly by Blair. He said: "In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi] was always on the negotiating table."

A senior Labour source suggested at the time that while Blair would not have laid down the offer of Megrahi's release formally, he may have given that impression to Gaddafi. The source said: "Gaddafi wouldn't be the first person to have walked away from a meeting with Tony thinking a deal was on. Just ask Gordon Brown."

Blair visited Libya in May 2007 just before his resignation, during which UK energy giant BP signed a £450m exploration deal. He visited Libya on business on behalf of JPM in 2008.  It is likely that Saif Al-Islam's remarks in 2009 referred to the later visits as much as the visit when he was in office.

Mandelslime said in 2009 he had also met Saif twice in the previous 12 months and acknowledged that the imprisonment of Megrahi had been raised.. He added: "As I have already stated, on both occasions Mr Gaddafi raised the issue of the Libyan prisoner in Scotland's release as all representatives of the Libyan government do. They had the same response from me as they would have had from any other member of the government. The issue of the prisoner's release was entirely a matter for the Scottish justice minister. That is how it was left, that is how it was well understood."

Mandelslime also said it was "implausible" to suggest that a UK Labour minister would simply ring up the SNP administration in Edinburgh to urge them one way or the other. Well yes, o greasy one, but we would hardly expect you to be so blunt.  Rather we would expect the Labour administration in London to make a generous pre-election financial offer to the SNP run administration in Scotland so that both parties could boast to the electorate of their generosity, when all the while it was actually coming from tax payers down south.

So next time you hear a politician being retained for their international consulting skills, go figure that it is nothing more than open ing a few doors and probably using their contacts at home rather than abroad to help fix deals. Foreigners rarely do deals out of kindness to our retired politicians.  In all likelihood the ex-politician is really earning big money for the influence they have back at home.

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