Former British Prime Minister visited Libya after he left office to meet with Moammar Gaddafi in order to lobby for U.S. financial company JP Morgan Chase Co.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph newspaper of Britain, Blair was flown to Tripoli on Gaddafi’s private jets at the Colonel’s expense.
The development raises more questions about how deeply Western politicians were involved with Gaddafi, a man they now claim to detest and want removed permanently from power in Libya.
The Telegraph reported that Blair was one of three prominent westerners who dealt directly with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of Col. Gaddafi’s sons, citing comments by a senior executive with the $70-billion Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which used the country’s oil wealth to invest abroad. Saif oversaw the fund and mandated where investments should be made.
"Tony Blair's visits were purely [lobbying] visits for banking deals with JP Morgan," the unnamed executive told the paper.
"Saif and his father played these [western businessmen and officials] like musical chairs. At the end the reputation of the LIA was really damaged because of these interventions."
However, a spokesman for Blair categorically denied to the Telegraph that these trips has anything to do with increasing business for JP Morgan.
"As we have made clear many times before, Tony Blair has never had any role, either formal or informal, paid or unpaid, with the Libyan Investment Authority or the Government of Libya and he does not and has never had any commercial relationship with any Libyan company or entity," he told the paper.
But Blair has indeed been a paid employee of JP Morgan since 2008, when he commenced his tenure as a £2million-a-year “adviser” to the investment bank. Moreover, the New York Post newspaper has reported that JP Morgan managed more than $500-million in assets on behalf of ILA.
Blair’s alleged ties to Gaddafi also raise questions about Britain’s release of Abdelbaset Ali Megrahi, the man who was convicted of the bombing of the commercial airplane that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 and killed 270 people.
Reportedly, Blair made at least three visits (in 2008, 2009, and 2010) to Libya ahead of Megrahi’s release.
Hoda Abuzeid, a Libyan woman whose dissident father was murdered in London in 1995, condemned Blair for his ties to the murderous Gaddafi regime.
"People like Blair and those who had their eyes on the business opportunities that Gaddafi could provide sold out people like my family," she said.
"When he had tea in the desert with the 'Brother Leader' [Gaddafi] did he ever ask him who killed my father?"