Two jobs enrich Blair by 2.5-m pounds a year

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London, Jan.29 : Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken up a second big job with a leading financial player, boosting his annual income to 2.5 million pounds. This, however, does not include the millions' he is probably earning from his speaking tours, reports The Times.

Blair, according to the paper, has joined Zurich, the Swiss company, as an adviser. The appointment, thought to be worth at least 500,000-pounds a year, comes less than three weeks after he took a similar role with J P Morgan Chase, one of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street.

He will assist Zurich on "developments and trends in the international political environment". His key interest, according to friends, was in its climate initiative, announced last week, developing products and research to combat global warming.

Zurich was unwilling to comment on how much Blair would be paid and how much time he would spend working for the company, which operates in 170 countries.

James Schiro, its chief executive, said that he was excited to have Blair on board.

"His appointment sits alongside other initiatives where Zurich has partnered with external thought leaders to challenge and enhance our operational and strategic thinking," the Times quoted him, as saying.

Blair is also serving as an unpaid international envoy to the Middle East. He is also likely to earn a reported five million pound deal for his memoirs and earns over 500,000 pounds a month from speaking engagements.

His spokesman said that there were no other positions in the offing. The former Prime Minister is thought to have turned down approaches from HSBC and Citigroup.

This month the Advisory Committee on Business Interests, which vets the jobs of former ministers to ensure that there is no conflict of interest, said that Blair could take up the job with J P Morgan immediately, but for one year he should not be personally involved in lobbying government ministers or officials on behalf of his new employer or its clients.

On his speaking engagements it said that Blair should not "draw on privileged information that was available to him as Prime Minister".

ANI

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