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Tony Blair helped PetroSaudi break into Chinese market: Documents

29 April 2016 15:00



Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was paid £41,000 a month and a 2 percent commission by a Saudi oil company in return for negotiating multimillion-pound business deals with China, new documents have revealed.

A series of documents, seen by the Guardian, show how Blair personally put PetroSaudi’s case to Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, who was then chairman of the China Investment Corporation, in the summer of 2010.

At that time, Blair was officially working as a special representative of the Quartet of international powers seeking a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

PetroSaudi, which is co-owned by Prince Turki bin Abdullah, the son of Saudi Arabia’s then monarch, King Abdullah, was not allowed to disclose Blair’s role without his permission, according to the contract.

Saudi prince Turki bin Abdullah

Tony Blair in 2010 with Saudi King Abdullah (right) (AP photo)

Leaked emails show how the former British premier courted Chinese officials for the Saudi prince, who agreed to the hefty fees Blair charged to act as a go-between.

The emails indicate that PetroSaudi encouraged Blair to “help deliver transactions, not just make the intros.”

The documents also show that officials at PetroSaudi were concerned that the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) “were out to get” Blair because he was still Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU.

One email reads, “Certain people at the FSA (Financial Services Authority) are out to get him… TB [Tony Blair] will assist in delivering transactions but cannot have it on paper that this might be the case (which no doubt still causes potential problems with the FSA).”

According to UK law, Blair was not authorized to arrange and advice on business deals for investors because it is considered a regulated corporate function while he was the Middle East peace envoy.

Tony Blair at the Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh in 2011. (AFP photo)

Over the next thirty months, Blair visited China ten times and personally lobbied then head of the China Investment Corporation.

Finally, due to Blair’s efforts, the Chinese leadership granted PetroSaudi entrance into the Chinese market.

Since leaving Downing Street in June 2007, Blair has amassed tens of millions of pounds including a property portfolio of 31 homes worth at least £25 million.

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