Foster launches legal fight for dossier on Blair

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The Independent Online

Peter Foster, the Australian fraudster behind the "Cheriegate affair" of 2002, claimed yesterday to have given e-mail material to the Daily Mail which could bring down Tony Blair.

Foster painted himself as an unlikely saviour of the Prime Minister in asking a court in Brisbane to order the return of e-mail correspondence he had concerning the Blair family and his former girlfriend, Cherie Blair's consultant Carole Caplin.

Foster has reportedly signed a £500,000 deal with the newspaper for them to serialise his biography, A Question of Deceit.

He claimed in court that the material he was trying to have returned to him was provided to the journalist Richard Shears for reference only. Lawyers for Foster claimed the case involved sensitive information involving "world figures".

Foster first came to prominence when it emerged Cherie Blair had used his services to help buy her son, Euan, a flat in Bristol. When she learned of his criminal convictions for fraud, she was forced to apologise for having become involved with him. Mrs Blair met Foster through his former girlfriend, her lifestyle consultant, Carole Caplin. At first No 10 tried to deny Foster was involved in the flat sale but the Daily Mail then published e-mails between Cherie Blair and Foster in December 2002.

Foster said of the new e-mails yesterday: "This is more than Cheriegate. The material deals, as you heard today, with issues of highly sensitive nature."

But the Daily Mail yesterday ridiculed the conman's claims. It said through a spokesman: "The categoric fact is that the Mail has no plans to publish any allegations made by Peter Foster about the Blairs.

Justice John Muir, of the Queensland Supreme Court, rejected Foster's application for an interim injunction against Mr Shears. He said his lawyers should have made their application when the journalist was still in Australia.