Watchdog orders publication of former prime minister’s payment by oil firm that was kept secret for 20 months
Tony Blair has received cash from a South Korean oil firm in a deal kept secret until the business appointments watchdog intervened, the Guardian has learned.
After 20 months of secrecy, the former prime minister has now been overruled by the chairman of the advisory committee on business appointments, the former Tory cabinet minister Ian Lang.
Lang this week ordered publication of Blair’s deal with UI Energy Corporation, which has extensive oil interests in the US and in Iraq.
Blair repeatedly claimed to the committee, which assesses jobs taken up by former ministers, that the existence of the deal had to be kept secret at the request of the South Koreans, because of “market sensitivities”.
Lang, who is understood to have reviewed the files, told Blair he saw no reason to keep the deal secret any longer.
The committee website now publishes a statement identifying Blair’s job as “advice to a consortium of investors led by the UI Energy Corporation (Publication delayed due to market sensitivities)”.
The committee also detailed on its website a similarly unpublished Blair deal with the ruling family in Kuwait. He has been in their pay since December 2007, with the task of producing a general report on the oil state’s future over the next 30 years, at a reported £1m fee.
Blair, who set up a commercial consultancy firm, Tony Blair Associates, following the Korea and Kuwait deals, has been secretive in the past about his money-making schemes.
A Guardian investigation last year found that he had put his multimillion-pound income through an obscure partnership structure called Windrush Ventures, which enabled him to avoid publishing normal company accounts.
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