UAE 'sought to hire Tony Blair to improve reputation'
The United Arab Emirates almost became yet another client of Tony Blair's consultancy services, to help enhance its reputation and influence abroad, according to revelations by the British-based paper The Telegraph.
Blair, the disgraced former British prime minister who co-planned the illegal invasion of Iraq, is known for providing such services to heads of state, governments and other entities, including allegedly central Asian, African, and Arab corrupt leaders and dictators, such as Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
Tony Blair had offered to provide his services to the UAE in return for a $35m fee spread over a period of five years, according to the British newspaper report.
In July 2007, Blair met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s foreign minister and the brother of the Crown Prince, subsequently forming a close relationship with the foreign minister, said the report.
Blair, a former Middle East peace envoy, has often been accused of having a conflict of interest as he offered his services in question -- including to the UAE -- while serving in official capacities.
The UAE already does business with Tony Blair Associates for various services across the world, separate from the botched deal.
Under the "strategic partnership" deal, Blair was to visit Abu Dhabi at least once a month.
In the letter of proposal that accompanied the financial demands, according to the Telegraph, Blair explained that his consultancy “can help create networks of connection that capitalise” on the UAE’s strong leadership and financial clout.
Blair's spokeswoman told The Telegraph the deal was "old news" and that the proposal went no further.
Since stepping down as prime minister, Blair has made tens of millions of dollars from his consultancy services and speaking fees.