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ICP Asks UN if Blair's Contract With PetroSaudi Is a Conflict, UN Won't Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 10 -- After it was reported that Tony Blair's company has a 41,000 pounds a month contract lobbying for PetroSaudi, while Blair is the envoy of the UN / Quartet on the Middle East, Inner City Press on November 10 asked the UN if this isn't a conflict of interest. Video here.

 UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq first said the question should be put to "Tony Blair Associates." Inner City Press asked if it isn't a UN determination to make. Haq replied that it is for the Quartet, for which he will not speak. Ban is a member of the Quartet. What is Ban's view? We will continue to ask.

  Nearly a year ago in November 2013 Tony Blair was in the UN talking about terrorism.

  Inner City Press asked then, can't there be conflicts of interest between this work and the money he receives from banks like JPMorgan Chase (which just settled predatory lending related charges for $13 billion), and from countries like Kazakhstan?

After the UN repeatedly refused to answer this question when Inner City Press asked it, at a stakeout on Thursday Inner City Press put it directly to Blair: can you address the potential conflicts of interest?

Blair replied, "There never is" a conflict of interest. He did not answer about the Quartet, but only his foundation, which he says is "separate" and works in 35 countries.

He concluded before walking away that "I just point out that I actually spend the vast bulk of my time on pro bono work." Video here.

Vast bulk is what percent? And what is Kazakhstan paying $11 million for? Who else is paying what?

Back on March 14 of this year Inner City Press asked the UN spokesperson:

Inner City Press: Tony Blair, who has a role in the Quartet and for the UN in the occupied territories, is receiving a salary of $11.7 million a year from Kazakhstan. And I wanted to know whether this could be viewed as any kind of a conflict of interest, whether apparently he doesn’t file at least a public, financial disclosure. I wanted to know whether he does, given his UN role, do a financial disclosure to the UN and whether direct payment by a Government could be viewed as a conflict of interest given his role, his UN service.

Deputy Spokesperson: We’ll have to check on that, Matthew, I don’t have anything on that.

[The Deputy Spokesperson later said that Mr. Blair is not a staff member of the United Nations, and that any questions on this issue should be referred to his office.]

Blair's office doesn't respond. But on November 21, 2013 when Inner City Press asked, Blair did respond -- sort of -- that "I actually spend the vast bulk of my time on pro bono work." So what is Kazakhstan paying $11.7 million a year for? Watch this site.


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