He was Britain’s PM from 1997 to 2007 and has been a Middle East envoy for the past eight years. His work has taken him around the world and helped him make a fortune, according to documents that shed light on ...

The scale of Tony Blair's globe-trotting has been exposed for the first time in secret documents that suggest the British taxpayer is paying up to 16,000 ($35,380) a week to help the former Prime Minister build his business empire.

Documents seen by the Daily Telegraph contain details of Blair's travels around the world, accompanied by police bodyguards, flying on private jets and staying in five-star hotels.

The files suggest Blair has used identical trips to carry out private business meetings and talks in his capacity as official representative of the Quartet on the Middle East - the UN, the US, the EU and Russia - leaving him open to accusations of a conflict of interest.

The documents show how Blair has been visiting up to five countries a week, at a probable cost of between 14,000 and 16,000 to the public purse.

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One British ambassador said companies linked to Blair, including his wife's law firm, were "sniffing for work" in one European country.

During the trips Blair must be accompanied by a team of Metropolitan Police officers, whose salary, overtime, expenses, travel and meals are paid by the taxpayer.

The most complex trips involve eight officers of varying ranks, and at least four remain at his homes in Britain. Each of the 12 officers is likely to be on an annual salary of at least 56,000, but can make upwards of 70,000 through the overtime they accumulate on foreign trips.

Documents seen by the Daily Telegraph during an investigation into Blair's business interests show he has nurtured a network of some of the world's most influential leaders and businessmen to build up a roster of clients paying tens of millions of pounds for his advice.

But the disclosures yesterday prompted suggestions that his paid work had created what appears to be a series of conflicts of interest with his unpaid envoy role, from which he will step down at the end of this month after eight years.

One ambassador who attended meetings with Blair on his Quartet work said the apparent conflict was "pretty distasteful", adding that Blair "used the ticket of the Middle East envoy and Quartet" to deal with Governments on a commercial basis.

The Daily Telegraph investigation reveals how:

• Blair stays with his entourage in five-star hotels around the world, with each room for his police bodyguards costing the taxpayer an estimated 1000 on multi-leg trips

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• The former Prime Minister travels on private jets, in some cases lent by clients and Governments

• Blair secured a 1 million private contract with the World Bank while simultaneously working with the bank in his role as Middle East envoy

• He struck lucrative commercial deals with Abu Dhabi while he was also in negotiations with the emirate as Middle East envoy over US$45 million ($64.1 million) funding for the Palestinian Authority

• Blair's team has sought assistance from British officials to further his private business interests, including briefings on countries including Canada, Albania and Macedonia;

• In several cases, influential figures Blair meets on private business trips are also his contacts in his official role as Quartet envoy.

Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative MP who has previously criticised Blair's business interests, called for the former Prime Minister to declare all his dealings.

He said yesterday: "Mr Blair has consistently blurred the line between his official and commercial activities, while his security entourage has incurred huge expenses for the British taxpayer.

"It is not appropriate for a man who has held the highest office in the land and has been privy to every one of our nation's secrets to undertake work for a foreign power."

The director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Chris Doyle, said: "Mr Blair needs to be transparent about his business activities, otherwise he faces the risk of being accused of having conflicts of interest."

The investigation gives the most detailed picture yet of Blair's crowded international itinerary. The files show how he was shepherded around America on a speaking tour, and crammed meetings with ministers and business leaders into 24-hour visits to Abu Dhabi - one of his biggest clients.

The total cost of wages and expenses for the 12-strong team guarding him would be between 14,000 and 16,000 for each week he is travelling, based on a conservative estimate of the number of officers remaining in Britain, and a reported figure of 5000 expenses a week.

It is likely that Blair pays the cost of his bodyguards' travel when they fly on private jets.

In one week in February 2012, Blair travelled to Israel in his role as Middle East envoy and then flew on to the UAE, Qatar, China and Kazakhstan for a mixture of charity work and private business.

He stayed with his entourage at hotels including the five-star Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the Four Seasons in Doha.

Blair has also been nurturing a relationship with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

At one meeting in January 2011, apparently attended by Blair at least partly in his capacity as Quartet envoy, he was accompanied by the then head of his government advisory practice, Stephan Kriesel.

A spokesman for Blair said Kriesel "happened to be travelling with him".

The Daily Telegraph's investigation also reveals how Blair's firm, Tony Blair Associates, now has an 11 million contract with the World Bank to carry out consultancy work, after he enjoyed a close relationship with the bank as Quartet envoy.

As part of its contract with the bank, Tony Blair Associates has provided a team of consultants to advise the Romanian Government on setting up a "delivery unit".

The Bank said Blair's firm offered "the most competitive price" out of five bids.

In October 2013, the British ambassador to Albania, Nicholas Cannon, told Whitehall officials that several "Blair-related outfits" - including Cherie Blair's law firm Omnia Strategy - were "sniffing for work in Albania".

A spokeswoman for Blair said: "There are no conflicts of interests with any of Mr Blair's work, including his role as Quartet representative.

"Clear policies and procedures ... were ... in place to prevent conflicts, including a clause in his commercial contracts stating he will not undertake work that conflicts with his Quartet responsibilities."

The spokeswoman said Abu Dhabi's funding for the Palestinian Authority came from a "separate organisation" to Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund that Blair advises.

She added that Blair had "absolutely never used his position as a Quartet representative to further business interests" and suggested that it was in "the country's interests" for Foreign Office officials to support his work abroad.

Spokesmen for Blair and Scotland Yard declined to comment on his security arrangements.


2007
Year Tony Blair left 10 Downing St

£100m
($220m) Upper estimate of what he has reportedly made since leaving Downing St

£10m
Maximum Blair says he is worth

£30m
Value of Blair's personal jet, nicknamed Blair Force One

£4.6m
Donated to Royal British Legion from the sale of Blair's autobiography A Journey