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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Tony Blair and Windrush Ventures

Soon after he retired from office, Tony Blair set-up an obscure partnership structure called Windrush Ventures. All his multimillion-pound income gets paid into Windrush. The reason for this is that Windrush does not publish normal company accounts.

However, there is a business appointments watchdog committee that overseas payments made to former ministers. This is an attempt to stop politicians from receiving corrupt payouts for services rendered when they were in power. This is usually overcome by politicians like Blair receiving highly inflated payments for memoirs and speeches by organizations not directly related to the corrupt activities.

Yesterday, the watchdog published details of Blair's relationship with a a South Korean oil firm. The company concerned is UI Energy Corporation which has extensive business interests in Iraq. In July 2008 Blair signed a contract with UI Energy. However, it was not revealed how much he was paid by the organization. Blair asked the watchdog to keep the deal secret because of “market sensitivities”. The watchdog agreed to postpone this information for three months. Since then, the watchdog has asked Blair several times for permission to publish details of this contract. Each time he has asked for more time. They agreed until yesterday. However, we still do not know how much Blair has been paid for ordering the invasion of Iraq.