Tony Blair was “secretly bankrolled” by the UAE while employed as the Middle East Envoy. Leaked emails obtained by a leading UK newspaper revealed that Blair was receiving millions of pounds from rulers in Abu Dhabi while holding the position of envoy of the Quartet for eight years until 2015.
While his office, contacted by the Telegraph, denied that Blair benefited personally from his role as Middle East envoy, the leaked emails expose details of several meetings between Blair and his associates with the UAE which has led to the charge of conflict of interest to resurface once again.
Questions over Blair’s connection with autocrats in the Middle East had been raised as early as 2011 in a documentary by British journalist Peter Oborne. The programme revealed Blair’s dubious business dealings, which raised allegations over conflict of interest. Blair was said to be on the payroll of the UAE and other despots in the region during the Arab Spring which saw millions of people rising up against many of the regimes in the region.
These fresh allegations bring into sharp focus, once again, many of Blair’s controversial backers. His services to the autocrats in the region have seen Blair make more money after leaving Number Ten in 2007, than any former prime minister.
According to the leaked emails,
the UAE quietly financed Mr Blair’s London office while he also received millions in consultancy fees from the state and the sovereign wealth fund of its capital, Abu Dhabi.
It’s alleged that Blair failed to separate his role as Middle East envoy, which required him to work on very sensitive areas, from his commercial interests.
The new revelations have forced Blair to admit that he had in fact used the same company to bankroll his work as political envoy and his commercial interest with the UAE, which is one of the four countries leading a blockade against Qatar.
The emails reveal details of staff from the Blair Foundation, some of whom were advisers in Whitehall, arranging meetings with business heads that served two-year prison terms for bribery. Invoices obtained by the Telegraph show that Blair had made $12 million from the UAE foreign ministry. The funds however, were not disclosed even though all other nine donors were listed on the funding page of the Quartet’s website.