From the news desk

Blair advising Saudi under £9m deal between country and his institute: Report


Tony Blair is advising the Saudi government under a £9m ($11.8m) deal with his “institute for global change”, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The former UK prime minister’s group reached an agreement earlier this year to help support Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernisation programme, under a “not for profit” arrangement, the Telegraph reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is an ambitious programme of reforms intended to open up and diversify the kingdom’s oil-centric economy by selling public assets, including a stake in world’s biggest oil producer Aramco, and reinvesting the funds.

The deal is the first major agreement to have emerged involving the Tony Blair Institute (TBI), which Blair established in 2016 after winding down his commercial operations, the Telegraph said.

The newspaper said that the institute received a $10m payment in January for the work, which is being carried out by its staff based in the Middle East.

The payment was made from Media Investment (MIL), a Guernsey-registered firm that is a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, according to the Telegraph.

Sources told the newspaper that the total provided to the institute so far exceeded $12m. The funding is not mentioned on the institute’s website, in spite of a subsequent post praising Saudi Arabia and its crown prince.

Blair’s office said the institute was “under no duty to disclose donors or donations”, and declined to say what discussions Blair had held with members of the Saudi royal family or government about the funding.

The newspaper said that the institute received a $10m payment in January for the work, which is being carried out by its staff based in the Middle East.

The payment was made from Media Investment (MIL), a Guernsey-registered firm that is a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, according to the Telegraph.

Sources told the newspaper that the total provided to the institute so far exceeded $12m. The funding is not mentioned on the institute’s website, in spite of a subsequent post praising Saudi Arabia and its crown prince.

Blair’s office said the institute was “under no duty to disclose donors or donations”, and declined to say what discussions Blair had held with members of the Saudi royal family or government about the funding.

[source: Middle East Eye]
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