London, Dec. 6 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was funded by Azerbaijan-based obscure oligarch with business links to Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.
Nizami Piriyev paid Blair to fly to Baku earlier this week to open his new "methanol plant". The disclosure comes amid growing scrutiny of Blair's network of private backers, with the Kuwaiti government understood to be one of his biggest financial supporters. The former prime minister has earned an estimated 14 million pounds since leaving Downing Street in June 2007. Blair's presence as the "special guest" at the opening of Piriyev's menthol company surprised many onlookers.
The plant has received financial backing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is owned and funded by various governments.
Nasib Piriyev, Nizami's clarified that Blair had been compensated for his visit.
"We were in correspondence with his office. He was interested in the project and eventually we met him in Baku. We covered his expenses. We hope that he will mention Azerbaijan and our methanol company when he makes speeches around the world," The Telegraph quoted, him, as saying.
On his visit, the former prime minister urged the country to be "transparent".
"It is a great pleasure to be associated with it and give my support to it," he said. He added that he was looking forward to his next visit to the country. (ANI)