Tony Blair wrote to Gaddafi ‘to suggest investment projects’
Tony Blair wrote to Col Muammar Gaddafi to suggest African projects in which the former Libyan leader could invest, according to reports.
The former prime minister told Gaddafi, in a letter dated February 17 2008, that he was “very interested to hear from you of the progress that is being made and the great opportunities there are for the future”.
He also thanked the dictator for his “hospitality during my visit to Libya and for taking the time to meet with me. I greatly appreciated and enjoyed our wide-ranging conversation.”
Mr Blair says he was “particularly interested in what you said about the funds that will be dedicated to projects in Africa, since you know I am doing a lot of work there and know of good, worthwhile projects for investments”.
The disclosure of the letter in the Daily Mail comes after documents which were found in Tripoli appeared to show that the former prime minister secretly met Gaddafi twice before the Lockerbie bomber was released.
Mr Blair also sent other letters on the same date in 2008 thanking the then-prime minister of Libya, Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, and to a man believed to be deputy prime minister, Dr Abdulhafid al-Zulaytini, for “facilitating my meeting with the Leader”.
In both letters he presses the two politicians for further meetings, saying “do let me know when you are in London” and tells them the appropriate means by which to contact him, it was reported.
Mr Blair has maintained his counsel on the full extent of his meetings in Libya since leaving office in June 2007.
Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph learned that Mr Blair used visits to Libya after he left office to lobby for business for the American investment bank JP Morgan.
A senior executive with the Libyan Investment Authority, the $70 billion fund used to invest the country’s oil money abroad, said Mr Blair was one of three prominent western businessmen who regularly dealt with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the former leader.
Saif al-Islam and his close aides oversaw the activities of the fund, and often directed its officials on where they should make its investments, he said.
The executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said officials were told the “ideas” they were ordered to pursue came from Mr Blair as well as one other British businessman and a former American diplomat.
A spokesman for Tony Blair said: “Tony Blair has never sought or received funding from Gaddafi or the Libyan government for any of his projects in Africa and neither have his charities.
“This discussion was about how best Libya used its substantial Africa Development Fund to help internationally supported infrastructure projects in Africa for the benefit of African people.
“It was a perfectly proper and sensible discussion to have. In the event they never did support them.”