Tony Blair has announced that he is winding down the controversial business structures that surround his financial dealings, and that he will donate around £8m to his not-for-profit work.
Since leaving Downing Street in 2007 various media reports have suggested that Mr Blair has amassed a personal fortune of anything from £70m to £110m through a series of connected companies based at his London headquarters in Grosvenor Square.
His office insists a figure of £10m is more accurate. The former Prime Minister, who also owns a property empire thought to be worth around £10m, has faced widespread criticism for the nature of his private work, which has included giving advice to major banks and repressive regimes in central Asia and the Middle East.
In a statement published on his website on Tuesday however, he announced that his private ventures will be closed, and that the “substantial reserves” will now be gifted to his not-for-profit work.
A source close to his office told i this sum would be “around £8m” and it would go to his Faith Foundation, as well as his African Governance Initiative and his Initiative for the Middle East.
Mr Blair will however retain a number of personal consultancies, which will continue to bring him a substantial private income on top of his £70,000 a year government pension.
He is also thought to receive £115,000 a year from government to carry out his public work, while his security team – including round-the-clock armed police protection is believed to cost at least £250,000 a year.
“Tony Blair has formally announced to staff his decision to close Tony Blair Associates and wind up the Firerush and Windrush structures,” read the statement. “He will gift the substantial financial reserves to the not-for-profit work, on which he will continue to spend the vast majority of his time.” The source said that Mr Blair had previously given away around £10m in “charitable donations, including the largest ever gift to the Royal British Legion.” The former Prime Minister said: “It is time to take this to a new level.
“As I indicated last December at our annual all staff meeting, I want to expand our activities and bring everything under one roof.
“I also want now to concentrate the vast bulk of my time on the not-for-profit work which we do. De facto, this has been the case in the past two years but we need to reflect this change in the way we are structured.
“During his post-office career the former Prime Minister faced attacks for combing a £2m-a-year-consultancy with US investment bank JP Morgan with his unpaid role of Middle East Peace Envoy in Jerusalem.
He also advised the insurance group Zurich Financial, while his company Tony Blair Associates signed a reported £27m-deal advising the Kuwaiti government.
According to the latest records at Companies House, last year was an incredibly profitable year for the former Prime Minister as his business interests tripled their profits, and he was able to reward his staff with an average pay increase of more than £30,000.
Mr Blair won’t totally remove himself from the business world. Yesterday he confirmed that he would retain “a small number of personal consultancies for my income”, but insisted he would work for free 80 per cent of the time.
This article first featured on our sister site iNews.