Tony Blair announces he is closing down his business empire

Dealings of former Prime Minister have been source of controversy since he left office

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair has announced he is winding down the opaque commercial ventures that have been the focus of his work since leaving Downing Street.

A statement on his website said the "substantial reserves" that Tony Blair Associates has accumulated will now be gifted to not-for-profit work.

Mr Blair has been criticised over the vast profits his Firerush and Windrush structures have generated, especially from consultancy work carried out for foreign governments and multi-national firms. 

The statement reads: "Tony Blair has formally announced to staff his decision to close Tony Blair Associates and wind up the Firerush and Windrush structures.

"He will gift the substantial financial reserves to the not-for-profit work, on which he will continue to spend the vast majority of his time." 

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The former Prime Minister said: "It is time to take this to a new level. 

"As I indicated last December at our annual all staff meeting, I want to expand our activities and bring everything under one roof.

"I also want now to concentrate the vast bulk of my time on the not-for-profit work which we do. De facto, this has been the case in the past two years but we need to reflect this change in the way we are structured."

He confirmed that he would retain "a small number of personal consultancies for my income, but 80 per cent of my time will be pro bono on the not-for-profit side."

Mr Blair has faced criticism for giving PR advice to the Kazakhstan regime about how to handle a massacre of civilians by the security services. He has also advised countries including Kuwait, Rwanda, Albania and Azerbaijan. 

It was also reported last year that Mr Blair would help Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who served in his country’s government during the 1999 Nato bombing operation which took place in the Kosovo War.

Mr Blair's personal fortune, which includes a number of properties co-owned with his wife and children, has been estimated at as much as £80m although he denies it is anything like as high.