#AceNewsReport – BRITAIN:June.14: This was Asa Bennet’s Morning Briefing recently and is a a revealing report on Tony Blair’s business empire.
Tony Blair dropped by Britain yesterday to discuss how to run a government, but how does he run his globe-trotting business empire? We’ve splashed this morning on our investigation into the former Premier’s business interests.
Documents seen by our reporters have shed light on Blair’s jet-setting lifestyle, staying with his entourage in five-star hotels around the world, with each room for his police bodyguards costing the taxpayer an estimated £1,000, and travelling on a series of private jets which are sometimes lent by clients and governments. "I want a job as a Met Police Tony Blair travel companion," one reporter joked on Twitter, "£56-70k a year, five star hotels and private jets…"
The files seen suggest Blair has used identical trips to carry out both private business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet Representative to the Middle East – a role he is quitting this month – leaving him open to accusations of a potential conflict of interest. One ambassador who attended meetings with him in his role as Middle East Envoy said the apparent conflict was “pretty distasteful”, adding that he “used the ticket of the Middle East Envoy and Quartet” to deal with governments on a commercial basis.
Blair’s country-hopping, visiting as many as five countries a week at a potential cost of as much as £16,000 a to the public purse, has allowed him to build up a coterie of wealthy friends and business contacts, including billionaires, heiresses and charity donors. Fittingly perhaps, his de-facto office in the Gulf is a hotel so dripping in money it has a machine in its lobby that dispenses gold bars. To get an overview of his business interests, check out our A-Z map – going from Albania to Zurich Insurance Group
When Blair popped by King’s College in London yesterday, he had advice for his successor – David Cameron – on how to get results in government. "The guy at the top has to be driving it the whole time" he said. Judging by the scale of the business operation Blair has built up, he seems to be following his advice.