A new book due to be launched this month has revealed the millions amassed by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair since leaving office in 2007, including several contracts sourced in the Middle East.
The book, ‘Blair Inc: The Man Behind The Mask’, claims how Blair has amassed a personal fortune of over $90 million and property portfolio worth $37.5 million in the eight years since he left office.
On leaving office as Britain’s longest-serving Labour prime minister in June 2007, Blair announced that he was had accepted the position of Middle East special envoy of the Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia).
He has also established a number of charities, including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the African Governance Initiative, but it has been his ability to earn substantial amounts of money that has been the focus of the new book.
The book’s authors, writing in the Daily Mail, outline some of the many sources of income that has made Blair more money than any previous former British prime minister in history. These allegedly include a four-year, $40 million contract with the Emir of Kuwait for consultancy advice and a consultancy contract providing ‘global strategic advice’ to the Abu Dhabi government, which is believed to be worth $1.5 million a year.
The book also says Blair agreed a secret contract with a Saudi oil company PetroSaudi in 2010, for arranging introductions to his contacts in China for a fee of $60,000 a month plus 2 percent commission on any deals he helped broker. The contract, however, lasted “four or five months maximum”, according to a company spokesperson.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Times has published a document on its website that claims Tony Blair Associates proposed a five-year commercial partnership with the UAE’s Foreign Affairs Ministry worth up to $45 million.
The newspaper says Blair is facing calls to step down as Middle East envoy over possible conflicts of interest.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who in January put forward a parliamentary motion calling for former prime ministers to be bound by the principles of public life, said: “The Middle East is on fire and he is relentlessly cashing in on his contacts. This is damaging to Britain’s reputation and he should now stand down as the Middle East envoy.”
In response, Blair’s office said the document, dated September 2014, was “out of date” and was not cleared by Blair himself, and said Blair would never do any paid work that created a conflict with his Quartet position.
“The UAE is not a member of the Quartet. Tony Blair has undertaken other work in the Gulf, but not in respect of anything that is linked to what he does unpaid for the Quartet,” a spokesperson for Blair said.