Monday, September 26, 2011

Blair the envoy 'pushed deals worth billions' for investment back that pays him £2million a year - 26th Sept 2011

Tony Blair is facing fresh questions over his role as a Middle East peace envoy after claims that he has used the position to promote lucrative business deals for clients of an investment bank that pays him £2million a year.

As a representative of the Quartet –the UN, the EU, the U.S. and Russia – the former prime minister is tasked with fostering peace between Israel and Palestine.

But he has also used the post to promote two contracts worth more than £1billion in Palestine with British Gas and mobile phone firm Wataniya – both major clients of J P Morgan, the U.S. investment bank which employs him as a senior adviser.

Mr Blair championed the development of a huge gas field operated by British Gas off the coast of Gaza, as well as the opening up of radio frequencies so Wataniya could operate a phone network in the West Bank.

A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary to be broadcast tonight claims Mr Blair’s behaviour has led to a conflict of interest.

Wataniya Mobile’s chief executive officer Bassam Hanoun said that although the network had been built, it was ‘dead’ until Mr Blair’s forceful intervention with Israeli ministers.

Wataniya is owned by the Qatari telecoms giant QTEL, which bought the network’s parent company Wataniya International in 2007 with a £1.3billion loan arranged by J P Morgan. Read More