The Guardian reports today that:
British investigators were ordered by the attorney-general Lord Goldsmith to conceal from international anti-bribery watchdogs the existence of payments totalling more than £1bn to a Saudi prince.
So the highest law officer in the land told them to lie about what they knew. As the Guardian puts it:
But when OECD representatives sought to learn more about the background to the move at private meetings in January and March they were not given full disclosure by British officials, according to sources.
They also said:
In confidential briefings at the OECD headquarters in Paris earlier this year, the UK said "national security" reasons were behind the decision to halt the SFO investigation into the case.
We now know that's not true. These payments were made from an officially sanctioned account at the Bank of England. Corruption doesn't get much closer to the centre than that. Tony Blair must have known this. But he said;
I'm not going to comment on the individual allegations and a lot of this relates to things that go back to the 1980s. This investigation, if it had gone ahead, would have involved the most serious allegations and investigation being made of the Saudi royal family and my job is to give advice as to whether that is a sensible thing in circumstances where I don't believe the investigation would have led to anywhere except to the complete wreckage of a vital interest to our country. We would have lost thousands, thousands of British jobs.
We may have lost some jobs. But frankly making weapons comes low on my list of valued activities. Honesty comes very high. And the 'vital interest' he sought to protect was his own involvement in this.
Blair and Goldsmith lied. I don't usually use that term. I'm convinced they have lied here. I think they've broken the law. I think they should be prosecuted. I'd urge the Guardian to raise a fund to ensure that they are. I'd contribute.