A senior executive with the Libyan Investment Authority, the $70 billion fund used to invest the country's oil money abroad, said Mr Blair was one of three prominent western businessmen who regularly dealt with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the former leader. Saif al-Islam and his close aides oversaw the activities of the fund, and often directed its officials on where they should make its investments, he said. The executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said officials were told the "ideas" they were ordered to pursue came from Mr Blair as well as one other British businessman and a former American diplomat. "Tony Blair's visits were purely lobby visits for banking deals with JP Morgan," he said. He said that unlike some other deals - notably some investments run by the US bank Goldman Sachs - JP Morgan's had never turned "bad".
But he added: "Saif and his father played these people like musical chairs. At the end the reputation of the LIA was really damaged because of these interventions."
Documents found by The Sunday Telegraph published this weekend showed Mr Blair had made at least three visits to Tripoli, twice in the lead-up to the release of the alleged Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Megrahi in 2008 and 2009 and once last year. On the first two occasions he was flown to the country on planes arranged by Col Gaddafi. A senior diplomat told The Daily Telegraph last night that the British embassy in Tripoli had arranged transport for Mr Blair and his entourage in Tripoli and ensured that representatives were there to “greet him and see him off” at the airport.
Mr Blair stayed overnight at the ambassador’s official residence in Tripoli and was accompanied by “several” British police officers for protection. The documents show that among the people he was due to meet in 2009 was Mohammed Layas, head of the LIA. A spokesman for Mr Blair said that the visits had largely been to discuss Africa, and categorically denied that he had lobbied Said al-Islam on behalf of JP Morgan.
The spokesman said last night: "As we have made clear many times before, Tony Blair has never had any role, either formal or informal, paid or unpaid, with the Libyan Investment Authority or the Government of Libya and he does not and has never had any commercial relationship with any Libyan company or entity."