With the release last week of a damning Chilcot report, Sunday´s revelation that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered to help the United Arab Emirates, or UAE, improve its poor global reputation in exchange for a cool US$35 million fee over five years, news outlets reported.
Blair, who has visited the Gulf state on several occasions, has close ties to the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The UAE already funds Blair's company, Tony Blair Associates, which operates in parts of the Global South. But the multi-million dollar deal represented a separate arrangement. The proposal was submitted in 2014 and indicated the money would fund monthly visits from Blair to the UAE, private offices, expenses and professional fees.
Blair's spokeswoman, however, told The Telegraph: "That is old news and that proposal went no further…In any event, fees would not go to Mr. Blair but to invest in the business and pay for staff and costs. Mr Blair does all his work in the Middle East on a not-for-profit basis."
Many, including, the relatives of British soldiers killed in Iraq, are calling for the prosecution of Blair for his decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The Chilcot Report confirmed that Blair´s decision was based on flawed intelligence, but took no position on criminal charges.
Blair has expressed taken responsibility for the decision, but said he still believes the world is a better place after the Iraq War.