Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents MAY 2013 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
INTERNATIONAL | BG29
On a snowy morning in the
middle of February, Tony Blair,
looking trim from his four- to
five-times- a-week workout
regime, is sipping coffee in his
office in London s Mayfair district.
Tony Blair, 59, has reinvented himself as
a dealmaker, globe-trotting adviser and phi-
lanthropist, presiding over a network of com-
panies and charities that operate in more
than 20 countries.
Since 2007, Blair and his firms have taken
in at least £59 million (US$90 million). His
charities have raised £25.5 million.
He s sitting in a Georgian town house that
was in the late 18th century the site of the
first US embassy to the Court of St James s.
Now, almost six years after he resigned as
British prime minister, it serves as the epi-
center of a new Blair empire, Bloomberg Mar-
kets magazine will report in its May issue.
"If you become prime minister and step
down in your early 50s," Blair says, "what
are you going to do? Play golf? It fills me
with total dread."
Blair, 59, has reinvented himself as a deal-
maker, globe-trotting adviser and philan-
thropist. He presides over a network of com-
panies and charities that operate in more
than 20 countries, with financing from a tan-
gle of private, corporate and government
Last year, one of his eight companies, Win-
drush Ventures Ltd., booked a record £16
million in revenue, up from £12 million the
previous year. A single bank, JPMorgan Chase
& Co (JPM)., has paid the former Labour
Party prime minister at least £10 million since
In his new incarnation, Blair is taking on
highly paid roles that don t sit well with
Britons still agitated by what they saw as
Blair s foreign adventurism when he was in
He s a paid adviser to the Abu Dhabi Exec-
utive Affairs Authority, which is chaired by
Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed
Al Nahyan. He s helping to arrange deals with
China Investment Corp., the country s
US$482 billion sovereign wealth fund.
Blair also is advising President Nursultan
Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, whose adminis-
tration has paid Blair s team of advisers £8
million pounds a year since the spring of
2011, including fees to Portland Communi-
cations, a PR firm set up by his former deputy
press secretary Tim Allan.
Human Rights Watch Inc, a New York-
based nonprofit advocacy group, condemned
the Kazakh government for the shooting
deaths of 12 striking oil workers during a
clash with police in December 2011.
In 2012, Blair signed an agreement with
Geraldo Alckmin, governor of the Brazilian
state of Sao Paulo, to assemble a team of
advisers to help modernise the state s public
As of mid-March, Blair was close to renew-
ing a contract to advise the Kuwaiti govern-
ment for an undisclosed amount of money
and was in discussions on similar deals in
Asia and Latin America, people familiar with
the negotiations say.
Blair had no desire to exit the world stage,
says Anthony Seldon, the author of Blair
Unbound (Pocket Books, 2008).
"He felt this burning sense of an incomplete
agenda," Seldon says.
Good for Blair, says Meghnad Desai, a
Labour member of the House of Lords and
professor emeritus of the London School of
Economics and Political Science.
"I d rather have my ex-PM doing useful
things than sitting around and pontificating
when he s not needed," he says. "Blair is
immensely able. All power to his empire."
Blair s high-level connections, as well as
the negotiating skills he honed as prime min-
ister, are in demand in an area where he had
no prior experience: finance.
In September, he helped seal the pact that
led to the biggest merger deal of 2012, mining
giant Glencore International Plc s US$35 billion
takeover of Xstrata Plc. People familiar with
the matter say his fee was at least $1 million;
Blair will not comment on the amount.
Some segments of the British public have
also raged at Blair s pursuit of profit as a
dealmaker, especially at a time when banker
bashing is rife.
"I see a man who appears to be amassing
a lot of money and shadowboxing with pol-
itics," says Peter Kilfoyle, a now-retired Labour
Party member of Parliament and government
minister who fell out with Blair over the war
in Iraq. "I think he s lost the plot completely.
He seems to be on an ego trip."
Blair s new life is a far cry from his final
years in office. Beginning in 1997, he led the
Labour Party to victory in three general elec-
tions, becoming the longest-serving prime
minister in his party s 113-year history. Even-
tually, surging anger over his decision to join
the US in the 2003 invasion of Iraq ate away
at his effectiveness.
So did interference from Labour factions
allied with Blair s political nemesis and even-
tual successor, Gordon Brown. Blair announced
his resignation on May 10, 2007. Within seven
weeks, he was gone -- from 10 Downing
Street and from the seat he had held in the
House of Commons since 1983.
During the course of two interviews with
Bloomberg Markets, Blair said he always had
big plans for life after politics.
"I wanted to create a different type of post-
prime ministerial career altogether," he says.
"From the outset, I had a very clear view of
what I wanted to do. I wanted to create my
own set of institutions."
He s done that. The Office of Tony Blair
manages his work advising governments. Tony
Blair Associates runs his financial consulting
business. His charities include the Africa Gov-
ernance Initiative, the Tony Blair Faith Foun-
dation and the Tony Blair Sports Foundation.
Blair s first big foothold in finance came in
January 2008, when Dimon hired him to chair
JPMorgan s 27-member International Council,
which meets formally once a year and includes
China Investment President Gao Xiqing.
Blair s JPMorgan connection led to his
peacemaking role in the Glencore-Xstrata
deal, as the chain of events is recounted by
people familiar with the situation. Blair first
met Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg at a private
dinner hosted by Dimon at the World Eco-
nomic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January
Last June, JPMorgan hosted about 30 Euro-
pean CEOs and other senior executives at the
St. Regis hotel in Florence, Italy. There, Blair
had a one-on-one meeting with Glasenberg.
JPMorgan was one of six advisers to Xstrata
on the takeover by Glencore. Glencore already
owned 34 per cent of Xstrata, and the com-
panies were negotiating a friendly merger of
A few weeks after the event in Florence,
Qatar Holding LLC, a unit of the US$115 billion
Qatari sovereign wealth fund that held an 11
per cent stake in Xstrata, surprised share-
holders by announcing it wanted a higher
offer before agreeing to the deal.
In August, Blair happened to see Glasenberg
again in New York over tea with Michael Klein,
a former Citigroup Inc. banker who acted as
an adviser to both mining companies through
his New York-based firm, M Klein and Com-
At the heart of Blair s firms---all ultimately
owned by him---are two serendipitously
named London-based limited partnerships
that aren t required to publish accounts under
English law, Windrush Ventures No 3 LP and
Firerush Ventures No 3 LP.
Short of full disclosure on Blair s part,
which he says he s not willing to provide,
it s impossible to determine how much money
Blair has personally made since leaving office.
Funds move from one company to another
for reasons not discernible to an outsider.
As of April 30, 2012, for example, Firerush
Ventures Ltd. had borrowed £822,000 under
a convertible loan agreement with Windrush
Ventures Ltd. in the same year that it received
£1.6 million for "management services" from
Firerush Ventures No 2 LLP and had £1.2
million in the bank at the end of the year.
"There s no reason to make your life that
complicated unless it s to reduce tax or hide
something," says Adrian Huston, a former
UK tax inspector and director of Belfast,
Northern Ireland-based accounting firm
Huston and Company.
"The only reason you do all these inter-
vening transactions is to create a smoke
Blair, scorned at home, builds
business empire abroad
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