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Tony Blair’s six secret visits to Gaddafi

In Europe News, World News on September 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

By Robert Mendick

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”.

JP Morgan said Mr Blair had no knowledge of the Rusal proposal. A spokesman added: “JP Morgan declined to participate on such a transaction and thus Mr Blair was never involved, and it was never discussed with him.”

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: “Neither Tony Blair nor any of his staff raised any issue to do with a Russian aluminium company.” He added that the “bulk of the conversations” with Gaddafi had been about Africa and how Libya could develop infrastructure. While Gaddafi raised the issue of Megrahi’s release, Mr Blair always repeated that…

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