Sept 25, 2011
Tony Blair’s close relationship to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has come under fresh scrutiny after it emerged he had six private meetings with the dictator in the three years after he left Downing Street.
Five of those meetings took place in a 14-month period before the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber.
Mr Blair is coming under increasing pressure to make public details of all his meetings and discussions with Gaddafi. It follows the disclosure in The Sunday Telegraph last week that on at least two occasions Mr Blair flew to Tripoli on a private jet paid for by the Libyan regime.
Among the new meetings uncovered by this newspaper is a visit to Gaddafi in January 2009, when JP Morgan, the US investment bank which pays Mr Blair £2 million a year as a senior adviser, was trying to negotiate a deal between the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and a company run by the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a friend of Lord Mandelson. The multi-billion dollar deal, which later fell through, would have seen the LIA provide a loan to Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer.
JP Morgan’s involvement in the deal is revealed in an email sent to the LIA by the bank’s vice-chairman, Lord Renwick, in December 2008, in which he sought to “finalise the terms of the mandate concerning Rusal before Mr Blair’s visit to Tripoli”.