Consultants, Politicians and Corruption

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In 2004-6, Monitor Group, a large US consultancy, were hired by the Libyan  dictator  Muammar Gaddafi for a number of contracts ranging from training and finance reform to economnic  infrastructure reviews. One of the contracts concerned what many felt was a PR campaign for the image of Libya and Gaddafi.  To achieve this, Monitor undertook a series of activities which included flying leading academics and journalists (including Prof. Anthony Giddens) who were paid for meeting Gaddafi and publishing ‘papers and articles on Libya’ (Rajeev and Jeevan 2011).

Monitor also employed the ex-head of the UK’s Counter Terrorism Unit, Mark Allen, to help build relations with the UK government – an investment which was proved successful when Tony Blair, the then British prime minister,  made his first visit to Gaddifi in 2004, spoke to him ‘several times’ on the phone, and held another five meetings in a 14 month period (2007-8) before the UK government released on ‘compassionate grounds’ the Lybian convicted for bombing PanAm Flight 103 in 1998 (Rose 2011). The deal was widely suspected of being undertaken in exchange for various business deals, including the rights for BP to drill for oil in Lybian waters, and as a reward for Lybian co-operation in the kidnap and torture of terrorist suspects. An allegation given support by Mark Allen’s subsequent role as a consultant for BP. On leaving office, Tony Blair employed a number of Monitor consultants for his private office (Lewis 2011) and continued his relationship with Monitor and the Gaddafi regime.

A further twist in the tale occurs when we discover that, in the period 2002-2007, Gaddafi’s son, Saif, did his PhD at the London School of Economics, which had just received a £1.5m donation from his father. Mark Allen, was, at that time, a board member of the LSE IDEAS Centre, Anthony Giddens (now Lord Giddens) was director of the LSE, and the examiner of the PhD, and the examiner of Saif’s PhD was a close friend of Tony Blair.

Oh, and Monitor? Monitor undertook over 50 interviews on behalf of Saif for his PhD.

Sources:

Lewis, J. (2011) Tony Blair’s Byzantine world of advisers and lucrative deals, The Telegraph,, Investigations Editor 24 Sep 2011

Syal, Rajeev; Vasagar, Jeevan (5 March 2011). “Anthony Giddens’ trip to see Gaddafi vetted by Libyan intelligence chief”The Guardian (London).

Rose, D. (2011) The Lockerbie Deal. Vanity Fair January 26th.

Shipman, T. (2012) MI6 and a £1m ‘bribe’ to silence torture victim: Spies gave up dissident to Gaddafi thugs. Daily Mail. 9 April

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