بخشش The Gift That Goes on Giving
TONY BLAIR intervened to help an Indian billionaire buy a giant Romanian steel company a month after the tycoon donated £125,000 to the Labour Party, The Telegraph can reveal.
In an extraordinary letter, Mr Blair told Romania's prime minister that selling his biggest state-owned enterprise to Lakshmi Mittal, one of the world's richest men, would enhance the country's chances of joining the European Union.
Mr Blair later told MPs that Mr Mittal's company was British. In fact, LNM Holdings is based in a Caribbean tax haven. It operates almost entirely overseas and competes against British steelmakers that have shed 6,000 jobs in the past year.
BRITAIN’S richest man is preparing to bail out Labour by pledging £2m to save the party from financial ruin after the cash-for-honours scandal.
The donation from Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian-born billionaire, will help Labour to pay off huge loans it controversially took from wealthy businessmen before the last general election.
The deal is understood to have been negotiated by Tony Blair and Lord Levy, Labour’s chief fundraiser, who is on bail after being arrested in the summer.
The money is also likely to attract criticism from Labour backbenchers concerned about Blair’s apparent financial reliance on a few millionaire backers and on Levy.
Blair had hoped the £2m gift would remain confidential until May, when the Electoral Commission discloses all donations received by political parties in the first three months of 2007.
Senior party figures are now worried that disclosure of Mittal’s pledge may lead him to withdraw it.
There is an old Indian word for this, but it escapes my mind at the moment...