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Ex PM Blair keeps his snout deep in the trough

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Grasping mad former national leader meets dead man walking by Getty Images

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair continues to do what he does best. No, not smirking that cheesy grin or holding the superficial gravitas to make himself look good next to certain bumbling presidents - I mean making money, and I mean big bucks!

According to British satirical/current affairs magazine 'Private Eye', in February Blair accepted $300,000 to speak to the 1500 hedge-fund managers and investors at the Miami conference of US finance firm Alphametrix. By way of contrast, his successor as failed leader of the British Labor Party, Gordon Brown, only trousered about $78,000 when he addressed the same firm's September conference in Monaco.

And yes, that is the same Alphametrix that recently disclosed that its 'liabilities greatly exceed' liquid assets, that's in arrears on payments to fund manager partners, and is desperately seeking a buyer to shore up its dodgy finances.

And, yes, the same company that fired its chief financial officer in October and announced it had 'encountered significant cash-flow issues', finally collapsing last month with regulators from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) saying the firm had misappropriated funds, 'sent false or misleading account statements' to investors, had 'failed to reinvest at least $2.8 million' owed to investors and had 'instead transferred the funds to its parent company'.

The Alphametrix conference was co-sponsored by the usual criminal suspects of the financial cartel. This included J.P. Morgan ($13 billion fine over mortgage-backed securities), HSBC ($1.9 billion fine for money laundering), Goldman Sachs ($550 million fine for sub-prime mortgage scam), Credit Suisse ($1.2 billion fine for client's tax evasion), and hundreds of millions more in penalties & settlements by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, USB, Deloitte, etc etc. -- anyway, you get the picture?

Blair's performance for Alphametrix barely lasted 90 minutes, including introductions and questions, and yet earned him an astonishing $3,333 per minute -- that's over $55 a second, not a bad little earner! You wonder exactly what pearls of wisdom dripped from his lips to justify such enormous wads of filthy lucre?

As always the American lamestream media has been conspicuously silent on this issue. They have more prurient interest in Blair's rift with media mogul Rupert Murdoch over innocent weekends spent at his California spread with his then wife Wendy Deng

Blair may still have some cache in the USA but is much less popular in his native UK where contempt is widespread for the former Prime Minster. Not least for his penchant for expensive and unnecessary wars, and a stunning cupidity reinforced by his need for tax-payer-funded food tasters to ensure his safety at a swanky New York restaurant. An establishment also frequented on the same day by virtual dictator of Kazakhstan and serial human-rights abuser, Nursultan Nazarbayev.  

President Obama must be marveling (if not salivating) as Blair breaks all records in his grasp for money via his post-political career as patron saint of good and lucrative causes. Since leaving office, Blair has accumulated over $60 million and owns half a dozen mansions around the UK. 

But does anyone see a problem here? As long as the world's political leaders are allowed to slide seamlessly from government regulation of the financial sector to the speech-circuit gravy train funded by the same crooks who pillaged our economy then we can have little confidence of meaningful reform to the banking and investment industry.

 

Ted Newcomen is a citizen-journalist - someone who is tired of the lazy 'lamestream' media circus which is obsessed with the cult of celebrity and just recycles press releases for the establishment.

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