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John Simkin

The Corruption of New Labour: Britain’s Watergate?

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Peter Mandelson is a close friend of Nat Rothschild, who runs the hedge fund, Atticus Capital (worth $20 billion), and the heir to the Rothschild barony.

The two men spend quite a lot of time on Rothschild’s island of St Barthelemy. He especially likes to take trips on Rothschild’s private jet.

Another person who has provided Mandelson with free holidays is Lakshmi Mittal, the world’s fourth richest man. In 2005 Mittal gave Tony Blair’s New Labour government £2m. This was not the first gift that Mittal made to Blair.

In 2002 it was disclosed that Mittal's LNM steel company, registered in the Netherlands Antilles and maintaining less than 1% of its 100,000 plus workforce in the UK, sought Blair's aid in its bid to purchase Romania's state steel industry. The letter from Blair to the Romanian government hinted that the privatisation of the firm and sale to Mittal might help smooth the way for Romania's entry into the European Union.

In 2006, Mittal mounted a £12.8 billion hostile bid for its nearest rival Archelor, which was based in Luxembourg and France. At the time Atticus Capital had holdings in both Mittal Steel and Arcelor and wanted the deal to go ahead. However, in Luxembourg and France there was strong opposition to the deal.

Mandelson, as the European Union Trade Commissioner, came under pressure from Mittal and Rothschild to support the deal. He agreed to do this by speaking out in favour of open trade and against European opposition to the deal. Eventually, the EU competition commission eventually approved the deal.

As I posted this yesterday Rothschild published a letter in the Times that successfully directed attention away from Mandelson who was due to appear before a House of Commons committee about his past dealings with Oleg Deripaska and Lakshmi Mittal.

Since your paper - along with your sister publication the Sunday Times - has made much out of what may or may not have happened at a private gathering of my friends this summer in Corfu - I thought I should make the following observations.

I am surprised that you focus on the fact that one of my guests, Peter Mandelson, is a friend of another, Oleg Deripaska. Not once in the acres of coverage did you mention that George Osborne, who also accepted my hospitality, found the opportunity of meeting with Mr. Deripaska so good that he invited the Conservatives' fund raiser Andrew Feldman, who was staying nearby, to accompany him on to Mr. Deripaska's boat to solicit a donation. Since Mr. Deripaska is not a British citizen, it was subsequently suggested by Mr. Feldman during a conversation at which Mr. Deripaska was not present, that the donation was “channeled” through one of Mr. Deripaska's British companies. In a subsequent phone call in mid-September about one month later, Mr. Feldman again raised the issue of the donation with me. Mr. Deripaska decided that he did not wish to make any donation.

I mention this because it turns out that your obsession with Mr. Mandelson is trivial in light of Mr. Osborne's actions. I also think it ill behoves all political parties to try and make capital at the expense of another in such circumstances. Perhaps in future it would be better if all involved accepted the age old adage that private parties are just that.

NATHANIEL ROTHSCHILD Klosters, Switzerland

The strategy worked and it was Osborne rather than Mandelson who was being asked the awkward questions yesterday. Osborne issued a denial that he "solicited a donation" from Deripaska. After all, it is a criminal offence in the UK for political parties to take money from foreigners. The claim that it was suggested that this money should be paid via a British company (Leyland DAF) was especially damaging.

An interesting point was revealled on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning. Nick Robinson, the BBC chief political journalist admitted that since Mandelson was appointed by Brown as Business Secretary, they had been receiving information about his relationship with Deripaska and Rothschild. However, he said, the BBC had decided not to use this information. He justified this by saying that some of this information had come from Tory sources and was politically motivated. As Rothschild has donated money to New Labour, was not his letter politically motivated? Yet, the Osborne story led every BBC TV and Radio broadcast yesterday. Once again, the BBC showed itself to be the party of the government.

On BBC Newsnight last night, Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP, who has been campaigning against corruption in politics, attempted to raise the issue of Mandelson's relationship with Deripaska and Rothschild. However, the chairman of the discussion, Jeremy Paxman, refused for it to be discussed.

Mandelson and Rothschild appear to have Osborne in a corner. This morning, The Rothschild has said he will not "back down" and is prepared to defend his claims in court. He has also said the first discussion about this donation, held in his Corfu home, was witnessed by a New York fund manager, James Goodwin. He said Goodwin also "recalled" that the subject of a donation "arose briefly" later when the men were guests on Deripaska's yacht but the "conversation gained no traction". Rothschild said the subject was raised again with Osborne later that evening, in which he said the shadow chancellor was "interested in whether and how such a donation could be secured".

Rothschild might well force Osborne to resign from the front-bench. However, it is a high-risk strategy as the letter has drawn attention to the Mandelson-Rothschild-Deripaska-Mittal relationship. I suspect that this will now be examined in great detail by the mainstream media.

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Nat Rothschild is a long-time friend of George Osborne (they were members of the same drinking club at university) and a financial supporter of the Conservative Party. Yet he has attempted to bring an end to Osborne's career. The media is attempting to portray it as revenge for passing on information about a mutual friend, Peter Mandelson. This is nonsense. The ruling elite do not play by "gentlemen rules". Something else explains this behaviour. One suggestion is that Peter Mandelson "has something" on Rothschild and he has blackmailed him into this "confession". Everybody seems to agree that Mandelson is behind this story. If he is, he has made a serious mistake as it will encourage other journalists to investigate Mandelson's relationship with Oleg Deripaska. For example, here is a story in this morning's Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/oc...andelson-labour

European commission officials who worked for Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, issued a misleading statement about the history of his relationship with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian billionaire, the Guardian has established.

Mandelson's officials in Brussels, where he served as trade commissioner before returning to a role in the government earlier this month, said the two men met "at a few social gatherings in 2006 and 2007", but had never discussed aluminium, the main source of Deripaska's wealth.

However, Mandelson and Deripaska were seen together at a Moscow restaurant in October 2004, after he had been appointed trade commissioner, but before he formally took up the post. A journalist spoke to both men and their companion, German Gref, who was then the Russian economics minister, and the event is also described in the blog of Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, Mandelson's former adviser and close friend.

The statement by the European officials is understood to be based on information provided by Mandelson himself. It is unclear why the business secretary has not corrected it to reflect the earlier meetings. The disclosure that the two men had met earlier is likely to fuel Conservative demands for an investigation into the relationship between Mandelson and the Russian oligarch.

Yesterday the Tories learned that they were themselves facing official inquiries arising out of meetings the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, had with Deripaska this summer, after the parliamentary commissioner for standards was asked to rule whether Osborne should have declared his stay at the Corfu villa of Nathaniel Rothschild.

The Tories were also facing the threat of an investigation into foreign financing after the party accepted a £6,000 donation from a US financier, Robin Saunders, through her UK investment company.

Last night, it was also revealed that David Cameron accepted free flights to visit Rupert Murdoch on his private yacht in the eastern Mediterranean. The flights, organised by Murdoch's son-in-law, Matthew Freud, to fly Cameron and his family from Istanbul to meet Murdoch on his yacht and then back to a resort in Turkey, were declared in the parliamentary register of members interests. Conservative Central Office said last night that "everything that needs to be declared in relation to August 16 has been properly declared".

Mandelson's staff in Brussels confirmed yesterday that he had told them that he met Deripaska in 2006, and they said they knew nothing of previous encounters.

In addition to the lunchtime meeting between the two men at Moscow's Pushkin Cafe, it has been reported that Mandelson and Deripaska met for dinner at another Moscow restaurant, the Cantinetta Antinori, in January 2005.

It has been reported that in 2005 Lord Mandelson was instrumental in easing EU tariffs on imports of Russian aluminium foil, which would have been favourable to Deripaska, but European commission officials pointed out yesterday that this decision had been taken in 2001, three years before Mandelson arrived in Brussels.

There was no clarification from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, of which Mandelson was appointed secretary of state in Gordon Brown's reshuffle three weeks ago. A spokeswoman said: "Peter Mandelson's social and other contacts with Oleg Deripaska over a number of years have been well rehearsed. He does not believe anything is added by giving regular updates on dates and places where they met, or in giving a retrospective running commentary of every meeting he has had with people he met during his time as EU trade commissioner."

Mandelson's relationship with Deripaska had been the subject of mounting media interest until last Monday, when Rothschild sent a letter to the Times in which he disclosed that Osborne and a senior Conservative party fundraiser, Andrew Feldman, had attempted to "solicit a donation" from Deripaska.

Rothschild claims that he leaked this news because Osborne, who had been his guest at a private party, broke a number of confidences in an apparent attempt to embarrass Mandelson. The result of the Times letter was that the tables were instantly turned on the Conservatives, and Osborne in particular.

Yesterday, however, some in Westminster were questioning whether Rothschild would have destroyed his life-long friendship with Osborne, the man who may become the next chancellor, over such a relatively minor matter, or whether he wrote the letter in an attempt to protect Mandelson, or Deripaska, or both.

Mandelson had known members of the Rothschild family for many years. Rothschild is said to have been present at the dinner in Moscow in January 2005 with Mandelson and Deripaska. The three met again last August on Corfu, where Rothschild has a villa and where Deripaska moored his £80m yacht.

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Nat Rothschild is a long-time friend of George Osborne (they were members of the same drinking club at university) and a financial supporter of the Conservative Party. Yet he has attempted to bring an end to Osborne's career. The media is attempting to portray it as revenge for passing on information about a mutual friend, Peter Mandelson. This is nonsense. The ruling elite do not play by "gentlemen rules". Something else explains this behaviour. One suggestion is that Peter Mandelson "has something" on Rothschild and he has blackmailed him into this "confession". Everybody seems to agree that Mandelson is behind this story. If he is, he has made a serious mistake as it will encourage other journalists to investigate Mandelson's relationship with Oleg Deripaska. For example, here is a story in this morning's Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/oc...andelson-labour

European commission officials who worked for Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, issued a misleading statement about the history of his relationship with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian billionaire, the Guardian has established.

Mandelson's officials in Brussels, where he served as trade commissioner before returning to a role in the government earlier this month, said the two men met "at a few social gatherings in 2006 and 2007", but had never discussed aluminium, the main source of Deripaska's wealth.

However, Mandelson and Deripaska were seen together at a Moscow restaurant in October 2004, after he had been appointed trade commissioner, but before he formally took up the post. A journalist spoke to both men and their companion, German Gref, who was then the Russian economics minister, and the event is also described in the blog of Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, Mandelson's former adviser and close friend.

The statement by the European officials is understood to be based on information provided by Mandelson himself. It is unclear why the business secretary has not corrected it to reflect the earlier meetings. The disclosure that the two men had met earlier is likely to fuel Conservative demands for an investigation into the relationship between Mandelson and the Russian oligarch.

Yesterday the Tories learned that they were themselves facing official inquiries arising out of meetings the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, had with Deripaska this summer, after the parliamentary commissioner for standards was asked to rule whether Osborne should have declared his stay at the Corfu villa of Nathaniel Rothschild.

The Tories were also facing the threat of an investigation into foreign financing after the party accepted a £6,000 donation from a US financier, Robin Saunders, through her UK investment company.

Last night, it was also revealed that David Cameron accepted free flights to visit Rupert Murdoch on his private yacht in the eastern Mediterranean. The flights, organised by Murdoch's son-in-law, Matthew Freud, to fly Cameron and his family from Istanbul to meet Murdoch on his yacht and then back to a resort in Turkey, were declared in the parliamentary register of members interests. Conservative Central Office said last night that "everything that needs to be declared in relation to August 16 has been properly declared".

Mandelson's staff in Brussels confirmed yesterday that he had told them that he met Deripaska in 2006, and they said they knew nothing of previous encounters.

In addition to the lunchtime meeting between the two men at Moscow's Pushkin Cafe, it has been reported that Mandelson and Deripaska met for dinner at another Moscow restaurant, the Cantinetta Antinori, in January 2005.

It has been reported that in 2005 Lord Mandelson was instrumental in easing EU tariffs on imports of Russian aluminium foil, which would have been favourable to Deripaska, but European commission officials pointed out yesterday that this decision had been taken in 2001, three years before Mandelson arrived in Brussels.

There was no clarification from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, of which Mandelson was appointed secretary of state in Gordon Brown's reshuffle three weeks ago. A spokeswoman said: "Peter Mandelson's social and other contacts with Oleg Deripaska over a number of years have been well rehearsed. He does not believe anything is added by giving regular updates on dates and places where they met, or in giving a retrospective running commentary of every meeting he has had with people he met during his time as EU trade commissioner."

Mandelson's relationship with Deripaska had been the subject of mounting media interest until last Monday, when Rothschild sent a letter to the Times in which he disclosed that Osborne and a senior Conservative party fundraiser, Andrew Feldman, had attempted to "solicit a donation" from Deripaska.

Rothschild claims that he leaked this news because Osborne, who had been his guest at a private party, broke a number of confidences in an apparent attempt to embarrass Mandelson. The result of the Times letter was that the tables were instantly turned on the Conservatives, and Osborne in particular.

Yesterday, however, some in Westminster were questioning whether Rothschild would have destroyed his life-long friendship with Osborne, the man who may become the next chancellor, over such a relatively minor matter, or whether he wrote the letter in an attempt to protect Mandelson, or Deripaska, or both.

Mandelson had known members of the Rothschild family for many years. Rothschild is said to have been present at the dinner in Moscow in January 2005 with Mandelson and Deripaska. The three met again last August on Corfu, where Rothschild has a villa and where Deripaska moored his £80m yacht.

In a letter published in this morning's Times, Lord Mandelson admitted meeting Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska two years earlier than previously revealed. EU officials previously said the two had met socially in 2006 and 2007. Mandelson said they first met in 2004 and accepts people may have been misled by a statement issued by his officials. The letter includes the following passage:

During the weekend when I moved from Brussels to London and prior to me being admitted to hospital for an urgent medical procedure, a statement was released to the press which said I had had meetings with Mr Deripaska in 2006 and 2007.

Some people formed the reasonable view, therefore, that my first meeting with him was in 2006. This is not the case: To the best of my recollection we first met in 2004 and I met him several times subsequently.

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In a letter published in this morning's Times, Lord Mandelson admitted meeting Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska two years earlier than previously revealed. EU officials previously said the two had met socially in 2006 and 2007. Mandelson said they first met in 2004 and accepts people may have been misled by a statement issued by his officials. The letter includes the following passage:

During the weekend when I moved from Brussels to London and prior to me being admitted to hospital for an urgent medical procedure, a statement was released to the press which said I had had meetings with Mr Deripaska in 2006 and 2007.

Some people formed the reasonable view, therefore, that my first meeting with him was in 2006. This is not the case: To the best of my recollection we first met in 2004 and I met him several times subsequently.

The reason that Mandelson lied about the dates of his meetings with Deripaska concerns his work with the European Commission. It was in 2004, that as Trade Commissioner, Mandelson had proposed that tariffs on aluminium imports be cut from 6% to 3%. We now know that this decision followed his meeting with Deripaska. Mandelson and the European Commission initially insisted that the two men met for the first time two years are the decision had been made. However, once evidence emerged that Mandelson was lying about this, the EC had to admit the truth but claim that Mandelson was not influenced by his free holidays, trips in private planes, etc. I am sure that Mandelson's best friends believe this, but I doubt if many others share this view.

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It is no coincidence that Peter Mandelson arrives back on the UK political scene during an economic crisis. He is quoted as saying his main objective is to stop the government using “Old Labour” measures to deal with the collapse of capitalism. He is of course in favour of taxpayers bailing out the bankers but is strongly against the government taking over control of these institutions. As has been pointed out, both Brown and Bush are currently following a policy f “socialism for the rich”.

Mandelson other reason for joining the government is to protect his Russian sponsors from suffering too much damage during the capitalist meltdown. After the fall of communism in 1989, Neo-Cons joined forces with the KGB, senior officials in the various communist parties in Eastern Europe and the Russian Mafia.

Mandelson’s main sponsor is Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s richest man. How did this man from a humble background get into this position in such a brief time? Deripaska was born into a poor family. However, he was very intelligent and graduated in quantum physics from Moscow State University. He met Lev and Michael Cherney, two brothers, who owned an aluminium plant in Siberia. This was part of the Trans World Group, owned by David and Simon Reuben, two London-based traders. Deripaska was appointed as manager of one of the aluminium plants that the Cherney brothers owned in Siberia (the Sayansk Plant).

After the fall of communism the old Soviet Union became a battlefield as the KGB, Soviet Communist Party officials and the Russian Mafia fought over the countries wealth. This included the struggle for the country’s aluminium industry. As Stewart Lansley, the author of a new book on this conflict has pointed out: “It was like Chicago in the 1920s; only the strongest emerged unscathed… After communism imploded, executives, politicians and reporters were run over, shot, had their throats cut or died in mysterious air crashes as ruthless entrepreneurs, corrupt officials and former KGB enforcers fought for control of the region’s smelters.”

It all became too dangerous for the Cherney brothers who fled to London to be with their partners, David and Simon Reuben. Deripaska was left in control of the operation in Russia. He now decided to form an alliance with Russian mobster, Anton Malevsky, who took a 10% stake in the company. Malevsky was gradually able to eliminate the opposition. Within a few years Deripaska dominated the aluminium market in Russia. He had also side-lined the Cherney brothers, who are currently suing him for £2 billion. It is why Deripaska cannot enter Britain to live in his £25m house in London. His mobster friends are also preventing him from entering the US.

In 2001 Malevsky was killed during a parachute jump (not a recommended hobby for someone who is a business partner like Deripaska). Once Deripaska had gained control of the domestic aluminium market he had to find away of exporting the stuff into Western countries. This came at a price. Deripaska had to sell a proportion of his business to investment companies based in the United States. This included the hedge fund, Atticus Capital (worth $20 billion), a company run by Nat Rothschild. This was an important investor as Rothschild was a close friend of Peter Mandelson, the European Union Trade Commissioner, who was in charge of negotiating the rights of those Russian Oligarchs trying to import their raw materials into the EU.

In 2004 it was arranged by Rothschild for Deripaska to meet Mandelson (up until last week Mandelson had denied this meeting had taken place claiming that he did not meet Deripaska until 2006). Soon after this meeting he was making speeches arguing that Russian companies should be allowed to export aluminum into the EU. This policy was eventually introduced and Deripaska made millions from the decision.

George Osborne, and other leading Tories discovered details of the Mandelson-Rothschild-Deripaska relationship. However, they kept quiet about this as they thought once in power, they could also do deals with these Russian Oligarchs.

However, the current economic crisis, has decimated the wealth of people such as Rothschild and Deripaska. It was now vitally important to have their man, Mandelson, inside the UK government. Once this happened, Osborne decided to leak stories about Mandelson and Deripaska to the Times and the Sunday Times. To warn Osborne off, Rothschild sent a letter to the Times, claiming that the Tory Party had been seeking donations from Deripaska. This was enough to get Osborne to stop but the damage had been done. British newspapers were now forced to investigate Mandelson’s relationship with Deripaska.

The first breakthrough was finding a witness to the 2004 meeting. This has forced Mandelson into admitting that his earlier statements were untrue. “During the weekend when I moved from Brussels to London and prior to me being admitted to hospital for an urgent medical procedure, a statement was released to the press which said I had had meetings with Mr Deripaska in 2006 and 2007. Some people formed the reasonable view, therefore, that my first meeting with him was in 2006. This is not the case: To the best of my recollection we first met in 2004 and I met him several times subsequently.”

Mandelson added that it did not matter as the European Commission had already investigated these claims of corruption and had found him not guilty. Last night the EC admitted that this was not true as they have never investigated Mandelson’s relationship with Deripaska.

Yesterday, Mandelson, who is leading a four-day UK trade delegation to Russia, refused to confirm the number and nature of his meetings with Deripaska, or the length of time he spent aboard the oligarch's yacht off Corfu in August. He replied: "What is important is not where you meet somebody or how long you meet them for but what you do during the meeting," he said. "In my case, I offered no favours and I received no favours, unlike George Osborne, who was holding conversations around his visits in order to obtain a financial contribution to the Conservative party."

A nice try but the focus is now rightly on Mandelson. It is also on Brown who made this strange decision to bring back Mandelson into his government. Mandelson is the man who got Tony Blair the leadership of the Labour Party by spreading the rumour that Brown was gay. Maybe he was about the spread another rumour about Brown? It is generally believed that Rothschild wrote the letter to the Times because he is being blackmailed by Mandelson. Interesting times.

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Deripaska, like all the Russian Oligarchs, is facing financial difficulties. If he fails to renegotiate loans, he may have to refinance $4.5 billion by the end of the week or risk losing substantial assets. The main bank he is negotiated with is the Royal Bank of Scotland, in which the UK government, including Mandelson, has a substantial influence after bailing it out with billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

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As we enter the recession I thought people might be interested in seeing an update of the financial situation of Tony Blair. From a report in The Times this week:

Tony Blair’s earnings since leaving Downing Street are calculated to have topped £12 million, more than six times his previous lifetime income.

The former Prime Minister, who tours the world speaking to audiences including investment banks, private equity firms and chambers of commerce, is now said to be the highest-paid speaker in the world.

As the stock market has plummeted and the housing market has slumped, the man who as Prime Minister championed the “light-touch” system of financial regulation blamed by some for the current crisis is enjoying an unprecedented boom of his own.

Mr Blair receives £84,000 of taxpayers’ money to run a private office and is entitled to an annual pension of £63,468, but this pales to insignificance beside his private earnings. He has made £4.6 million from his memoirs, an estimated £2 million from JPMorgan Chase — including bonus — and £500,000 from Zurich Financial Services. On top of that he has exceeded the $9.2 million (£5.8 million) that Mr Clinton earned, according to his wife Hillary’s financial disclosures, from speeches in his first year outside the White House.

“I can tell you that Tony Blair has already made more money than that,” a speaking industry source said. “He is now probably the highest-paid public speaker in the world.”

At the United Nations there is fear that his focus on commercial interests is jeopardising his unpaid role as Middle East envoy.

One senior official said: “There’s a view in the UN that he’s not making any progress and that from all the status that he brings to the position, he doesn’t seem to be achieving anything . . . He’s meant to work on the distribution of aid to Palestinians and not brokering peace in the Middle East, though he’d like to do that.”

Such is the demand for Mr Blair, who works exclusively through the blue-chip Washington Speakers Bureau, that he has a two-year waiting list for bookings, with clients prepared to pay $250,000 (£157,000) for a typical speech of roughly 90 minutes.

One of his main employers is the Washington-based Carlyle Group. Next month he will address a conference of its European investors in Paris about “geopolitics”. He addressed a similar conference for Carlyle in Dubai in February. Carlyle Group is a leading private equity investor in the military.

Carlyle and the Blair Government have a controversial history. The National Audit Office said taxpayers lost millions from the privatisation of spy technology because of Labour’s decision to appoint Carlyle Group as a preferred bidder too quickly.

However, it is not all good news for Tony Blair. Like other wealthy individuals, he has been badly hit by the economic downturn. For example, he owns five properties. The house he owns in Sedgefield is now worth £126,000, down from a peak of £140,000 in summer last year (he bought it for £30,000 in 1983).

In 2002 he bought two new-build apartments bought for £265,000. They looked a shrewd investment at the time but it has been reported that one of them is now on the market for £285,000.

His house in London bought for £3.65 million in 2004. He then added the adjoining mews house, for £800,000 early last year. However, it is in a fashionable part of London and is still valued at over £5m.

His biggest loss is for his home in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire. He bought the property for £4 million in May. It is currently valued at £3.76 million.

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In 1998 the United States refused Oleg Deripaska a visa because of his alleged "criminal associations and relationships". This included Anton Malevsky, head of the Ismailovskaya Brotherhood.

In 2000 Deripaska was keen to launch his company Rusal on the London Stock Exchange but was worried that his US visa ban would deter investors. He therefore employed former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, to lobby the state department on his behalf. Dole succeeded and Deripaska was allowed in in December 2000. However, while in the US, Deripaska was interviewed by the FBI. This resulted in another ban from entering the US that is still in existence today.

Deripaska is not banned by the UK but he fears being arrested if he attempts to visit his expensive home in London. Maybe, Mandelson is working as an undercover agent by infiltrating the Ismailovskaya Brotherhood. ;)

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One of the main reasons why Tony Blair attempted to stop the publication of Lance Price’s book, Spin Doctor’s Diary (2006) was that he disclosed that all important policy decisions had to go before Rupert Murdoch before being announced to the general public.

Journalists have been attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act to publish documents concerning the meetings between Blair and Murdoch. The first of these was released this week. It concerns a meeting that took place in January 1998, about a European Commission investigation into Murdoch’s business activities. This involved blocking Murdoch’s plan (British Interactive Broadcasting) was that BSkyB should join up with other large companies to develop an interactive scheme in which people could shop and manage their finances through their televisions. The memo of the meeting has Blair telling Murdoch that he was “sympathetic to what he was aiming to achieve.” As a result of the meeting Blair immediately ordered his top officials (Jonathan Powell, James Purnell, Alastair Campbell) to help Murdoch to deal with the European Commission.

Karel Van Miert, the EC Competition Commissioner, gave permission for Murdoch’s British Interactive Broadcasting to go ahead in 1999. Initially it was successful but was closed down in 2001 because of the competition from the internet.

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In an interview on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 last Tuesday Peter Mandelson insisted that in his various meetings with Oleg Deripaska “there was no discussions of EU trade business; there was no discussion about tariffs or anti-dumping duties.”

Over the weekend the Sunday Times reported that someone who was at one of these meetings has claimed that Mandelson and Deripaska did discuss wood tariffs. As well as controlling the aluminium industry, Deripaska also owns one of Russia’s leading companies in the wood industry and is trying to persuade the EU to allow him to export wood into the European Market.

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One of the main ways that individual members of the post 1997 Labour government are rewarded for their corrupt activities is that they are given high-paid consultancies after leaving office. This includes Tony Blair (JP Morgan, Zurich Financial Services), Stephen Byers (Consolidated Contractors Company, Yalta European Strategy, ACWA Services), Charles Clarke (KPMG, Charles Street Securities, Beachcroft), Patricia Hewitt (Alliance Boots, BT, Cinven), David Blunkett (Entrust, UC Group, A4e) and Alan Milburn (PepsiCo, Covidien, Lloydspharmacy). One of the major tasks these people have is to get government privatised contracts for their new employers (one of the reasons why as ministers they encouraged the privatisation process).

Some of these individuals feel so untouchable that they even send out invitations to companies to “invest” in these schemes on House of Commons notepaper. For example, Stephen Ladyman, sent a letter to Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport for London, that stated the following: “You may remember me from my time as minister of state for transport. I now spend a little of my time providing advice to ITIS and would very much like to discuss with you how we could work together.”

ITIS Holdings is a traffic information company that was trying to get a 2012 Olympic contract. It obtained an important contract with the government while Ladyman was minister of state at Transport. However, it lost that contract after he was moved to the Health Department. Five months after leaving the government he obtained a job with IT IS.

After Patricia Hewitt was sacked as Health Secretary she accepted a consultancy worth £45,000 with Alliance Boots and a £55,000 job with Cinven. She has a third contract with BT. Therefore she gets over £100,000 a year as well as her MP salary.

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Yesterday, Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, was arrested and questioned by counter-terrorism officers for nine hours and his home and office searched as part of an inquiry into Home Office leaks. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that Green was arrested by members of its counter-terrorism command. It said the investigation was not terrorism related but did fall within the counter-terror unit's remit.

It follows a series of leaks to Green by someone in the Home Office, including:

The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.

The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.

A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.

A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

It is an important aspect of a parliamentary democracy that civil servants leak documents to MPs when government officials are acting in a corrupt way. It limits the amount of lies a government tells the public. For example, Winston Churchill, used leaks from government to highlight the problems with appeasement in the 1930s. If it happened today, Churchill would be imprisoned by this government. Gordon Brown used leaks from the Treasury during the 1980s and 1990s to expose the Tory government. Now, he is willing to use the police and anti-terrorist laws to try and keep MPs from revealling corruption in government. It will of course not work as this government is not only corrupt, it is incompetent.

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Tony Benn, the Labour former cabinet minister, said this on BBC Radio today: "I may sound strangely medieval, but once the police can interfere with parliament, I tell you, you are into a police state. Parliament is a safeguard against the abuse of power and once you start clamping down on it you are saying goodbye to the freedom that parliament gives you."

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Yes, I noted this event on the BBC and other news services with great alarm. The only good thing is that all MPs I so-far head from [from all the political spectrum] were condemning it. The Deep Political Structure in the UK is obviously trying to put the MPs and such 'in their place' and tell them just who is ruling the country - as they long ago did in the USA. I hope the appropriate police and others who let this happen loose their jobs and perahps face the dock. Unless that happens this matter will only be the first of many others and all MPs will be subject to control and being spied upon; their private information and that of their consituents seized. One Conservative Member gave a very good analsysis of this on the BBC in which he said how Churchill, Brown and a long history of many others used leaks to inform the public and stop what they felt were illegal or ill-advised actions - This was true of most MPs and as long as it wasn't about a highly classified subject it was even their job. He pointed out that if all MPs that had leaked non-classified information were arrested, the Parliment would be totally empty.

The man who ordered the raid on Damian Green was Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting head of the Metropolitan Police. He has applied for the permanent post that became vacant after Iain Blair was forced to resign after he lost the confidence of Tory mayor, Boris Johnson. Blair should have been sacked after the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. However, a deal was done and Iain Blair was protected in exchange for Tony Blair not being prosecuted over the cash for honours scandal.

The post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is appointed by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary. Stephenson, who has applied for the post, obviously thought he would impress Smith was his “pro-Labour” attitudes by ordering the arrest of Damian Green. However, to get permission for the raid on Green’s offices, he had to get permission from the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin. This would normally have been refused. The tradition of the Speaker protecting the rights of MPs goes back to 1642 when King Charles I entered the House of Commons and ordered the Speaker, William Lenthall, to identify five MPs he accused of treason. Lenthall refused and this act triggered the English Civil War.

However, Martin was in no position to refuse because of his own corrupt past. Since 2007 the Tax Payers' Alliance have been calling on the Metropolitan Police to investigate Martin for claiming expenses he was not entitled to receive. For example, it has been revealed that Martin claimed £17,166 last year towards the cost of his Bishopbriggs constituency home, on which he no longer pays a mortgage. When this was reported in the newspapers, Martin spent more than £20,000 of taxpayers' money on lawyers to challenge these stories. Understandably, Martin played an important role in trying to block the publication of details of MPs' £5m-a-year travel expenses under the Freedom of Information Act. Martin also used air miles accumulated on official business to fly his children and their families to London in business class. His wife, also illegally claimed more than £4,000 in taxi expenses. As long as Martin does as the police want, he will not be prosecuted for these offences.

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A chrity that has had more than £840,000 of loans quietly written off by the government fund has made two unlawful donations to the Labour Party. Catz Club, which runs after-school clubs for children, paid £30,000 to attend two Labour fundraising events at Wembley Stadium. Charity law bans the use of charitable funds to bank-roll political parties. Tony Mitchell, the chairman of Catz Club lives in Florida.

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