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Former PM Tony Blair brokered billion dollar deal between US and Libya

The deal allegedly deprived British victims of Libyan terrorism compensation
Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair in central London on 22 July (AFP)

Former British prime minister Tony Blair reportedly visited the White House to secretly agree on an over $1bn deal on behalf of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The deal allegedly deprived British victims of Libyan terrorism millions of pounds in compensation, reported the Telegraph on Sunday.

Blair acted as a mediator in negotiations between Gaddafi and former US President George Bush over payments to terror victims, according to a senior source reported the Telegraph. 

According to the report, the 2008 deal led to American victims receiving over $1bn while British victims were not compensated.

The new evidence suggests Blair, who had quit as prime minister less than a year earlier, played a vital role mediating negotiations between US and Libyan governments. 

Billions of pounds of Gaddafi’s assets were at risk of being frozen at the time as Libya was being sued through US courts for committing terrorist acts against Americans. 

The deal brokered by Blair was reportedly agreed in exchange for all court cases to be dropped, reported the Telegraph. 

Blair did not respond to the allegations made against him when the Telegraphy invited him to do, the paper reported. 

The Telegraph's source said: “You will find that Mr Blair called on Mr Bush in Washington in February 2008. I do know there was a meeting between Mr Blair and Mr Bush subsequent to one of Mr Blair’s visits to Libya.

“There was no deliberate plan to exclude Britons from the deal but that was a consequence. It was certainly the effect."

"The Libyans had taken fright at the number of court judgments and that led to the negotiations and the setting up of the US compensation fund. It’s regrettable that the US didn’t allow British citizens to make a claim on the fund.”

In a letter quoted by the British paper dated 27 February 2008, Blair wrote to Gaddafi following his visit to Tripoli and Washington: “I also raised some of our conversation with President Bush and would be very happy to let you know how those talks went, With my best wishes, yours ever, Tony.”

The Telegraph source confirmed that those talks included discussions about compensation.

Blair’s involvement is the subject of a parliamentary inquiry by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. The committee’s chairman, Laurence Robertson, wrote to Blair asking for a written explanation by 23 October.

Blair reportedly replied the day of the deadline asking for a ‘timeframe for its submission’, wrote the Telegraph.

“It is school boyish of Mr Blair in the deliberate misreading of the the letter,” the Telegraphy quoted a committee source as saying. 

The committee is looking to investigate why Blair, who is thought to have visited Libya at least six times after leaving office in 2007, "intervened" on behalf of Gaddafi.

Blair allegedly attempted to agree a number of economic and business deals during his trips to Libya and has since built up a fortune estimated at £60 million, reported the Telegraph.

Kate Hoey, a Labour MP and committee member, said: “The more we hear from witnesses, the more Tony Blair’s name crops up. It is extremely likely our committee will wish to interview him and see him in person.”

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