Author Topic: How Cherie Blair's law firm lobbied Britain on behalf of the Maldives' governmen  (Read 1302 times)

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Offline mayya

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How Cherie Blair's law firm lobbied Britain on behalf of the Maldives' government

New documents show how Mrs Blair met the British High Commissioner to the Maldives country on a visit from London, while another partner in her firm held talks with a senior Foreign Office official in the UK.

 
Cherie Blair runs her own international law firm, as well as a women’s charity that only last week pocketed a £1 million grant from the world’s largest consulting firm Photo: Rex

By Edward Malnick
10:00PM GMT 25 Oct 2015
 

Cherie Blair's law firm held three meetings with senior officials in less than two months as she lobbied Britain on behalf of the Maldives government, it can be disclosed.

Documents obtained by the Daily Telegraph show how Mrs Blair met the British High Commissioner to the country on a visit from London, while another partner in her firm held talks with a senior Foreign Office official in the UK.

Mrs Blair is acting on behalf of the Maldives' autocratic government, which prosecuted Mohamed Nasheed, the country's former president, on terrorism charges.

David Cameron and other officials have called for his release, after Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer and wife of the actor George, took up his defence in the Maldives.


Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, stands with former president Mohamed Nasheed's lawyers at the High Court in Male, Maldives Photo: AP

Last month Mrs Clooney met James Dauris, the British High Commissioner to the Maldives, to press Mr Nasheed's case.As a result of the meeting Britain was accused by the Maldives government of a "flagrant display of prejudice".

However documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show how Mrs Blair's firm, Omnia Strategy, had already held three meetings with British officials, including two with Mr Dauris, on behalf of its clients.

Omnia wrote to the Foreign Office twice in June and July, each time stating that the letters were written "on behalf of Mrs Cherie Blair CBE, QC", its chairman.

In the first letter, dated June 26, an unnamed member of Mrs Blair's staff requested a meeting between Mrs Blair and Hugo Swire, the Foreign Office Minister of State.

The staff member said Omnia was advising the Maldives government on “legislative reform” and the promotion of human rights “as part of the Government’s strategy of democracy consolidation”.
"We understand that the UK has expressed concerns regarding recent events in the country, particularly regarding Former President Nasheed. Mrs Blair would very much welcome an opportunity to meet with State Minister Hugo Swire at his earliest convenience to discuss these events, in light of his call the other day with Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon."

The letter added: "Given the historic ties and mutual bond through the Commonwealth, we are hoping for an open dialogue and constructive cooperation between the UK and the Maldives."
It finished by asking "when State Minister Swire would be available to meet with Mrs Blair."


Cherie Blair and Amal Cloony are on opposite sides of the legal battle Photo: Rex, Reuters

However Mr Swire declined to provide any dates or meet the wife of the former prime minister at all, prompting the ire of the Maldives government, which noted that he had earlier held talks with Mrs Clooney and Mr Nasheed's wife Laila Ali in London.

"Through Minister Swire, it is the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office that is taking a biased position on a domestic legal case in Maldives," a government statement said last month.


Male the capital of the Maldives Photo: Alamy

An Omnia spokesman directed the Telegraph to the statement after saying the firm would not comment on "confidential client matters." It was issued after Mr Swire separately declined to allow Mrs Blair to sit in on a meeting with his counterpart from the Maldives. Diplomatic sources said her presence would have been inappropriate at a meeting between two foreign ministers.

However the statement failed to mention that Mrs Blair had earlier met Mr Dauris at the British High Commission in Colombo on Aug 25.

Weeks before that, on July 31, Mr Dauris had also met Toby Cadman, a partner at Omnia, in Colombo. The documents show that Mr Cadman also met Giles Thomson, the head of the Foreign Office's South Asia department, at a meeting in London.

Mr Nasheed is accused of ordering the arrest and detention of a judge during his time as president. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for his release.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11954181/How-Cherie-Blairs-law-firm-lobbied-Britain-on-behalf-of-the-Maldives-government.html