Blair met Mittal over Kazakhstan deal: ReportOctober 30th, 2011 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS
London, Oct 30 (IANS) Former British prime minister Tony Blair met Indian-origin billionaire Lakshmi Mittal and struck a deal worth eight million pounds ($13 million) to clean up the image of corruption-plagued Kazakhstan, a media report said Sunday.
Steel magnate Mittal — who has donated more than four million pounds to Labour — sat next to Blair at a meeting of “powerful” international businessmen in Kazakh capital Astana in May, the Daily Mail said.
Mittal is Britain’s richest man with a fortune of more than 20 billion pounds ($32 billion) and is the biggest employer in Kazakhstan. He employs 50,000 people there and is reportedly close to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Mittal’s LNM steel company is, however, not British. It was registered in the Dutch Antilles and has less than one percent of its 100,000-plus workforce in Britain.
An adviser to the Kazakh president has said Blair opened an office in the capital.
“A large working group is here and, to my knowledge, it has already opened Tony Blair’s permanent office in Astana,” said presidential adviser Yermukhamet Yertysbayev.
Kazakhstan is desperate to improve its image, which has been mocked as underdeveloped.
In leaked US diplomatic cables, Kazakhstan has been accused of being undemocratic, using torture and other abuse, arbitrary arrest and detention, restriction on free speech, corruption in law enforcement and the judicial system, discrimination and violence against women and people trafficking.
Despite this, Blair and close colleagues have made a number of visits there, said the Daily Mail.
Blair met Nazarbayev Jan 31, and reportedly discussed the establishment of new financial institutions.
“Tony Blair has helped put together a team of international advisers and consultants to set up an advisory group for the Kazakhs, with a team of people working on the ground. The work they are doing is excellent, sensible and supports the reforms they are making,” said a spokesman for Blair.
“The Kazakhs also engage with a number of other former European leaders. Blair is not personally making a profit directly or indirectly through Tony Blair Associates or any company on this. He is not doing business in Kazakhstan,” he said.
A spokesman for Mittal has declined to comment.
Mittal’s employees in Kazakhstan have accused him of “slave labour” conditions after a series of coal mining accidents between 2004 and 2007 which led to 91 deaths.
- Russia, Kazakhstan extend Friendship Treaty for 10 years - Jun 08, 2012
- Kazakhstan holds presidential polls - Apr 03, 2011
- Geologists name new mineral after Kazakh president - Dec 01, 2011
- Kazakhstan to hold early presidential elections - Jan 31, 2011
- Manmohan Singh calls for dynamic Indo-Kazakh relations - Apr 15, 2011
- Suicide bomber targets Kazakh state security building - May 17, 2011
- UAE hails Nazarbayev's idea to modernise Muslim World - Jun 08, 2011
- Kazakh president calls election fair, opposition cries foul - Apr 04, 2011
- Kazakh restive town normal, UN experts invited - Dec 23, 2011
- Kazakh parliament backs referendum to extend Nazarbayev rule - Jan 14, 2011
- Industrial-innovation Kazakhstan's new economic focus - Jan 28, 2012
- Kazakhstan supports India's bid for permanent UNSC seat - Apr 16, 2011
- Kazakhs in Delhi can vote for Sunday's Kazakhstan polls - Jan 13, 2012
- Kazakhstan approves early presidential election - Feb 03, 2011
- Indo-Kazakh ties to strengthen with peaceful uses of nuclear energy: PM - Apr 15, 2011
Tags: british prime minister, british prime minister tony blair, capital astana, corruption in law enforcement, daily mail, dutch antilles, former british prime minister tony blair, international advisers, international businessmen, kazakhs, lnm steel, minister tony blair, nursultan nazarbayev, people trafficking, permanent office, president nursultan nazarbayev, presidential adviser, prime minister tony blair, steel magnate, tony blair