Tuesday, 27 July 2010


KGB did bug Profumo and Keeler pillow talk to steal nuclear secrets

By Jason Lewis
Last updated at 10:42 PM on 24th July 2010

  • FBI files reveal unidentified Minister acted as waiter at orgy – dressed only in black hood and pink ribbon
The KGB planted bugs to eavesdrop on John Profumo’s pillow talk with Christine Keeler, according to newly released top-secret files.
The topless showgirl and model’s KGB lover also persuaded her to question Profumo, Britain’s Minister of War, about Britain’s nuclear arsenal, the files reveal.
The reports claim that the Russians obtained ‘a lot of information’ which threatened to undermine Western security, contradicting the long-term view that the affair did not damage UK security and that no secrets were leaked to Russia.
Scandal: Christine Keeler, whose affairs with a Minister and a Soviet spy caused a crisis in the British Government in 1963
Scandal: Christine Keeler, whose affairs with a Minister and a Soviet spy caused a crisis in the British Government in 1963
And the files also reveal details of society dinner parties  descending into debauched orgies, with, on one occasion, a naked Government Minister acting as a waiter.
Unknown to Profumo, his lover Keeler was also involved with the spy Yevgeni Ivanov, a naval attache at the Soviet embassy in London.
The affair’s exposure in 1963 led to Profumo’s resignation and rocked Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s Government.
The FBI files, declassified under the US Freedom of Information Act, reveal Keeler confessed Ivanov asked her to obtain information about the movement of Britain’s nuclear warheads and that the operation led to Profumo being a ‘blackmail victim’.
The files suggest the US, during delicate negotiations between Macmillan and President John F. Kennedy on the sale of the Polaris missile to the UK, feared defence secrets had been compromised.
The US took the affair so seriously, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover hand-delivered a note to US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother, warning of the risks.
douglas fairbanks jr
john profumo
Revelations: Star Douglas Fairbanks Jr (left) gave the FBI information about Keeler's affair with Minister of War, John Profumo (right)
The papers also reveal how Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks Jnr knew many of those involved and gave regular reports to Washington about the scandal.
Hoover’s note, dated June 18, 1963, soon after Profumo’s resignation, is headed ‘Soviet Personnel Intelligence Activities Internal Security – Russia’.
It reads: ‘In view of the President’s forthcoming trip to Europe, it is believed you would want to know of the following information from a confidential informant who has furnished reliable information in the past.
‘On June 14, Colonel [blanked] with Soviet mission to the United Nations... a ranking official of the KGB... commented concerning a radio broadcast regarding the Profumo case that [the KGB] had received through [Ivanov] “a lot of information” from Profumo... [blanked] also remarked that [blanked] had established microphones in [blanked] apartment(s).’
The US agent, a ‘defector in place’ working for the KGB in New York, was saying the flat where Profumo and Keeler met was being bugged by the Soviets.
The note adds: ‘In view of the extremely delicate and sensitive source providing this information, it is being furnished only to you with the belief you might want to personally advise the President...’
A secret cablegram, sent from Hoover to the FBI legal attache in London in June 1963, said: ‘This case receiving special attention at White House, State, Defense and [blanked]. President reportedly concerned lest there are hidden ramifications which might affect his forthcoming conference with Macmillan.’
stephen ward
Connected: Stephen Ward, the osteopath who introduced Keeler to Profumo
The document is one of several files released after requests by Stephen Dorril, intelligence expert and joint author of Honey Trap, the account of the Profumo Affair on which the 1989 film Scandal was based.
A heavily redacted version of the file, codenamed ‘Bowtie’, had been previously released, but the new papers give a much clearer picture of the US investigation. They show senior FBI officials in London were so worried they cancelled their leave.
A second top-secret note describes how the information came from a KGB colonel who was well-connected in Moscow.
The informant told the FBI he was involved in a discussion about Profumo at the Soviet’s United Nations office, saying it took place while he and several KGB officers were ‘standing in a corridor smoking’.
The file adds: ‘Informant was asked... whether [the senior KGB Colonel] made these remarks facetiously or in joking manner... the informant said he had not received this impression.’
The role of Fairbanks Jnr, a former US Naval Intelligence officer, is revealed in an airgram sent from the FBI in London to Hoover.
Dated June 19, 1963, and referring to Stephen Ward, the osteopath who introduced Keeler to Profumo, it says: ‘Fairbanks Jnr has advised... he was patient [of] Dr Ward and met [Keeler] on several occasions. Fairbanks knows Ward as a procurer... states... Ward will be charged with abortion and blackmail. Profumo is blackmail victim.
‘Fairbanks [said] Ward running sex den and [Keeler] involved. Characterized Ward as Left-wing fellow traveller. According to Fairbanks, [blanked] has long list of “customers” which involves many members of the House of Lords. Navy suspects Fairbanks may be more involved with [blanked] than he had indicated.’
Ward committed suicide with sleeping tablets on the last day of his trial in August 1963, having been charged with living off profits of prostitution.
The file also discloses an interview with Thomas Corbally, the American businessman who in January 1963 tipped off the American ambassador in London about the Profumo affair.
Corbally said he was introduced to Ivanov, ‘who was personable, a good dresser and a man with a “keen” interest in beautiful girls’, by Ward.
Corbally reported that Ward said Profumo was having an affair with Keeler. Ward told him in 1961 he took ‘many beautiful girls’, including Keeler, to Cliveden, home of Lord Astor, and how ‘on occasions [blanked] and his male guests would pay visits’ to a cottage on the estate rented by Ward ‘to see the girls’.
‘Dr Ward went on to relate that one summer’s night in 1961 he took [Keeler] to the swimming pool... and impulsively they [blanked] and did so in the nude. Ward further related ... they were spied upon by Profumo, who was attending a dinner at the main house, and Profumo started to chase [Keeler] around the pool until the other main house guests appeared, and the girls then hastily wrapped themselves in towels.’
Corbally told how Ward described an ‘elegant’, ‘formal’ dinner party. ‘When the dinner was about to be served a waiter serving the dinner appeared in complete undress except for a black hood, which he wore over his head with slits for the eyes.
‘He stated Dr Ward also indicated the nude waiter had a pink ribbon tied to his private parts and this eventually caused the dinner party to culminate in a perverted sex orgy upon the part of all the guests.
‘He stated Ward refused to identify anyone attending the party other than the fact they were highly placed officials and the nude waiter was a high-ranking Cabinet Minister.’
Another FBI informant, whose name is still secret, reported Ward said of Ivanov and Profumo’s liaisons with Keeler ‘... when one of these men would come in one door, the other would go out the back door’.
According to the informant, Ward said Keeler ‘called Profumo “Jacky”.’
He added Keeler was asked if Ivanov ‘had ever requested that she obtain information for him and she replied that he did.
‘She stated: “He asked me to obtain information as to when the atomic warheads would be sent to West Germany.” ’ Asked if she had obtained any of the information, she replied ‘nothing important really’.
A document featuring another secret informant says Keeler discussed an ‘incident of the near-atomic explosion caused by a rat partially gnawing through a cable’, adding she ‘did not indicate this information came from Profumo but [the informant] assumed it did because Profumo would be the only one in a position to give such information.’

Drug firm slashes prices after MoS investigation -saving taxpayer £500k

By Jason Lewis
Last updated at 12:42 AM on 25th July 2010

A drugs company under scrutiny for increasing the price the NHS pays for lifesaving pills by 1,000 per cent in two years has dramatically cut its charges after a Mail on Sunday investigation.
The firm slashed the price of its hydrocortisone tablets, used to treat kidney patients, by £7.40 – saving the NHS almost £500,000 on its monthly drugs bill.
The company’s boss had claimed the NHS ‘doesn’t care what it costs’ when he was asked to explain the price increases passed on to the taxpayer.
The price cut came as the Department of Health admitted it does not police the cost of everyday medicines supplied to the NHS.
A drugs company has slashed the price of its hydrocortisone tablets following a Mail on Sunday investigation
Despite claims of profiteering on some commonly prescribed drugs, civil servants said the department ‘does not regulate generic prices’.
The Mail on Sunday investigation revealed how some pharmaceutical companies were imposing huge price increases while earning
massive profits. Drugs firm Auden McKenzie was charging £44.40 for a packet of its 10mg hydrocortisone tablets, but on Monday – the day after our investigation was published – the company wrote to wholesalers cutting the price to £37 with immediate effect.
The firm had increased the price of the tablets for the NHS from £5 in 2008 to a peak of £48 earlier this year – making it about £2.4 million a month.
TMOS Front.jpg
Company boss Amit Patel, 35, whose personal wealth is said to exceed £40 million, claimed the price rises were needed to pay for his firm’s new multi-million-pound factory production line.
He refused to say where the factory was or give any further details and said the price of the drugs would ‘creep back down’ because the firm had recouped much of its outlay.
In a previous interview with The Mail on Sunday, he said: ‘Joe Public doesn’t know what it takes to . . . revive these old drugs. Quite rightly . . . the Government views medicine as public safety, so they don’t care what it costs.’
He added: ‘To be honest, they don’t care what it costs. You either meet their criteria or you don’t market the product.’
Last week, he issued a statement denying that he had claimed the ‘NHS doesn’t care what drugs cost’ and saying he ‘strenuously denies ever discussing the production costs of the drug’.
Questions to Auden McKenzie’s media advisers asking for the reasons for the reduction in the price of the tablets went unanswered yesterday.
Between 2007 and 2008, the firm’s turnover rose from £5.3 million to £10.6 million and its profits trebled to £6.2 million.
Details of its more recent accounts – which coincide with the increased price of hydrocortisone – are not available and are listed as overdue by Companies House.

Another medicine under the spotlight is Flucloxacillin syrup, one of the most common antibiotics prescribed to children. It is used to treat a variety of skin conditions and throat infections.
According to the NHS drugs price list, in October last year a 125ml course cost the NHS around £4 a bottle. The current NHS price, unchanged last week, is £21.87, a more than five-fold increase.
The medicine is made by Icelandic drug giant Actavis and the price increases will cost the NHS an estimated £44 million.
In response to The Mail on Sunday investigation, the Department of Health claimed they were ‘aware that the prices of a small number of medicines have risen in recent times and we are reviewing what action may be taken’.
But they later ‘clarified’ these comments saying they were not carrying out any review.
A statement from the department added: ‘The Department of Health does not regulate generic prices and relies on competition to secure value for money.
‘As with any market, prices of medicines can go up or down for a variety of reasons.
‘No new review of generic pricing has been launched but where a price has significantly increased, as happens from time to time, the Department reviews these on a case-by-case basis to determine the cause of the price increase and its rationale.’
On Friday, the department issued a further statement which read: ‘The NHS has saved billions of pounds through the use of generic medicines.
‘The Department is committed to securing value for money for the taxpayer and large levels of savings have already been achieved by reducing the prices at which generics are reimbursed . . . However, we do not comment on specific cases.’

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


NHS doesn't care about cost of medicine’: Drugs firms accused of profiteering by raising prices by ONE THOUSAND per cent

By Jason Lewis
Millionaire who raised the price of widely-used drugs by 1,000% over two years says: ‘I don’t have to justify my profits to anyone’

Drugs companies making everyday medicines for the NHS are facing claims of profiteering after imposing huge price rises for commonly prescribed drugs.
The increases – some as high as 1,000 per cent in just two years – coincided with some of the firms involved earning massive profits.
One company boss said the NHS ‘doesn’t care what it costs’.
Drugs made by Teva, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical 
Drugs made by Teva, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms. It is the main producer of Qvar asthma inhalers, which have gone from costing a couple of pounds to £16
The medicines are not new innovative products developed by pharmaceutical companies after enormous investment in research and development.
Instead, they are unbranded so-called ‘generic’ drugs which have been available for many years and include commonly used antibiotics prescribed to millions of patients.
Last night, The Mail on Sunday investigation prompted the Department of Health to reveal it had launched a review of the price increases and to say that it was examining what action could be taken against manufacturers deemed to be making excess profits.
 The revelations will be particularly upsetting for cancer patients and others trying to get access to expensive life-prolonging drugs which have been blocked on the grounds of cost.
Last month, in the latest controversial decision of its kind, the UK’s medicines advisory body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, recommended against the NHS paying for a new breast cancer drug.
One of the medicines under the spotlight after a huge unexplained price increase is hydrocortisone tablets – a daily lifesaver for thousands of kidney patients.
In June  2008, the cost to the NHS of a packet of 10mg pills was £5. Today, the NHS is paying £44.40 for the same course.
The main supplier of the drug is a small pharmaceutical firm called Auden McKenzie, based in Ruislip, North-West London, which sells 60,000 packets a month to the NHS.
Earlier this year, the price peaked at £48 a packet which – allowing for the High Street chemists’ profit – meant the firm was earning an estimated £2,400,000 a month from the drug, or up to £28million a year.
In June  2008, the cost to the NHS of a packet of 10mg hydrocortisone pills was £5. Today, the NHS is paying £44.40 for the same course
It also produces a 20mg dose pack, for which the NHS pays £46.62 and dispenses around 2,000 packets a month.
The prescription-only medicines are taken when a patient’s body is not making enough hydrocortisone, either because part of the adrenal gland is not working or because of surgery or other injuries. It is used in the treatment of Addison’s disease.
The firm’s current accounts are overdue, according to Companies House, and its current turnover and profits are not available. However, its most recent accounts for 2008 – signed off by its board last year – showed a massive increase in profits.
In 2007, its turnover was £5.3million and it was making profits of £2.3million. In 2008, turnover was up to £10.6million and profits had trebled to £6.2million.
Auden McKenzie is owned by Amit Patel, an accountant, who founded the firm in 2001, starting out making only one drug. Today, Auden Mckenzie sells more than 30 licensed products in the UK and six in continental Europe.
Some of the drugs it sells have been bought from giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, but the company has research-and-development facilities for modifying and improving its products.
Last year, for the first time, 35-year-old Mr Patel appeared on the Eastern Eye magazine Asian Rich List, with a reputed worth of £40million.
He lives in a large double-fronted house in Northwood, North-West London, which cost him £775,000 seven years ago, and where yesterday a three-year-old Aston Martin, worth at least £100,000, and a £70,000 Mercedes ML were parked on the drive.
Last night, Mr Patel appeared reluctant to discuss why he is charging so much more for hydrocortisone. He claimed that the price increase was a result of his firm’s large outlay on a new production line to make the drug.
amit patel house
Imposing: The London home of Amit Patel, owner of the Auden Mckenzie company, which produces the exorbitantly priced hydrocortisone tablets
But he refused to say where the expensive new plant was or give more details about the spending. He said: ‘This is all commercially confidential.’
He added: ‘For hydrocortisone, there is a very specific raw material required. Basically, the plant that made that was no longer prepared to do that. There had to be a multi-million-pound investment put in to ensure that [production] continued.
‘This sort of product cannot be made in a general facility. There are dangers of cross contamination. A new manufacturing plant had to be put up.
‘Either we just let this product go, just let it die. But it is crucial to certain patients, so we can’t do that. Now the majority of the investment which has been made has been recouped.
‘So now you will steadily see [the price] coming back down. It will creep back down because the company has recouped what it needed to. It was not simple and it was a very expensive process.’
He added: ‘Joe Public would not know what it takes sometimes to revive these old drugs. Quite rightly, the Government views medicine as public safety. They don’t care what it costs. They will not put people’s lives at risk by allowing us to market substandard drugs.
‘This a classic example of the malaise in the NHS where more and more money is being pumped in without any regard for whether we are getting value for money’ - Peter Bone MP
'To be honest, they don’t care what it costs. You either meet their criteria or you don’t market the product. This being a critical product, you can’t not market it.’
Asked about his company profits, he added: ‘That is nothing to do with this product.
'That is to do with our European sales of completely different sorts of drugs.’
He refused to give further details of his company’s spending that he said had led to the price increase. ‘This is commercially confidential,’ he said. ‘The Government has those details. I don’t need to justify my profits to anybody. There are companies that make bigger profits than I do.’
Another of the drugs under the spotlight is Flucloxacillin syrup, one of the most common antibiotics prescribed to children. It is used to treat a variety of skin conditions and throat infections.
According to the NHS drugs price list, in October last year a 125ml course cost the NHS around £4 a bottle. Now, the NHS price – which includes the wholesale cost set by the drugs company and a built-in profit for High Street chemist shops – has risen to £21.87, a more than five-fold increase.
The NHS price of the 250ml course, also branded as Floxapen Syrup, has risen from £8.02 last year to £26.87.
Until last year, the medicine, which is prescribed to more than two million patients annually, was made by two of the world’s biggest drug companies, Teva and Actavis.
But the price increases coincided with a decision last year by Teva to stop making the drug – claiming it was too expensive and unprofitable – handing its rivals a virtual monopoly.
The subsequent price increase could cost the NHS and the taxpayer an estimated £44million in extra prescription costs for this drug alone.
Actavis is an international generic pharmaceutical company based in Iceland. Listed on the Icelandic Stock Exchange until 2007, it was taken private by Novator Partners, an investment vehicle of the chairman Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson, once his country’s first billionaire.
The entrepreneur was hit by the recent banking crisis and saw his net worth decline from £2.3billion to £600million.
Last night, Actavis, which makes around £1.3billion a year worldwide, ignored requests to explain its price rises. Instead, it issued a statement saying it is ‘very proud of the low-cost, high-quality generics they manufacture which enable the NHS to afford prescription medicines and to fund the vital research into new medicines’.
Analysis of NHS drug prices shows a number of other large price increases involving other generic manufacturers.
‘The question for the NHS is who agreed to these enormous price increases and why?’ - Former Tory Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell
The biggest supplier of Flutamide, which is used to treat advanced prostate cancer, is again Actavis. And again the price of the drug has risen dramatically in the past 12 months, going from around £7 for a 250mg pack to £20.02 for a course in May’s NHS price list.
Qvar inhalers, used to prevent asthma attacks, have gone from costing a couple of pounds to £16. The inhalers, once made by three manufacturers, are now mainly produced by Teva, which says the price increases are the result of a change in the inhalers’ delivery mechanism.
The device, which pumps the anti-asthma drugs into the airway, previously used harmful CFC gases as a propellant. But the gases were outlawed by the Government, adding extra production costs for the firm.
Other drugs, such as Gabapentin, which prevents epileptic fits, have been hit by shortages of active ingredients which explain, according to the manufacturers, why the price of a 600mg pack has risen from £5.52 to a cost to the NHS of £41.06.
Other increases, one of the big drug companies claims, are caused by a low demand for a drug or less competition as some companies decide it is not economic for them to continue production.
This, it is claimed, is behind the 400 per cent increase in the price of acne infection antibiotic Minocycline, with the price of a 100mg dose rising from 26p to £1.20.
The same cause is blamed for the price hike of Erythromycin. A 250mg pack of the antibiotic cost £6.64 in August 2008. The July 2010 NHS price list now shows they cost £13.50 a pack.
And an 800mg pack of stomach ulcer treatment Cimetidine now costs £22.09, up from £16.01.
Tory MP Peter Bone, a former member of the Commons Health Committee, described the findings as ‘staggering’.
He said: ‘This a classic example of the malaise in the NHS where more and more money is being pumped in without any regard for whether we are getting value for money.’
He added: ‘What is amazing is that this seems to have happened under the noses of hundreds of highly paid bureaucrats whose job should be to keep an eye on this sort of thing and stamp it out.
‘If you were running a business and one of your suppliers said they were putting their prices up by 1,000 per cent, you would want to know why – but when this happens in our Health Service it appears nobody blinks.
‘I shall be raising this issue in Parliament. It needs to be investigated as a matter of urgency.’
Former Tory Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell, now chairman of the Commons Health Committee, said: ‘On the face of it, this seems to be profiteering by the drugs companies and they must answer for that.
‘The question for the NHS is who agreed to these enormous price increases and why?’
He added: ‘It will not be for the Commons Health Committee to negotiate drugs prices with the pharmaceutical companies but we will be announcing a series of investigations which will look at how to tackle the inefficiencies in the way the Health Service is run.’
Last night, the Generic Medicines Association, which represents a large number of the drugs firms supplying the NHS, said competition in the industry kept drug prices down and meant that the Health Service paid less for its drugs than anywhere else in Europe.
It said that the Department of Health also had powers to sanction firms profiteering on drug sales but was unaware of any recent cases of the Government intervening in this way.
The spokesman said: ‘Each quarter, manufacturers report their sales and net revenues for each medicine to the Department of Health which in turn sets pharmacists’ reimbursement prices for the following quarter at a level that gives community pharmacies a margin of £500 million in total.
‘This provides the incentive for the competitive buying behaviour of pharmacists and wholesalers to drive down prices of generic medicines.’
But last night the Department of Health said it had launched a review to examine why the cost of some generic drugs had risen dramatically.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware that the prices of a small number of medicines have risen in recent times and we are reviewing what action may be taken.’
He added: ‘The average price of a generic medicine has actually gone down. There are approximately 3,700 generic medicines prescribed on the NHS. Between 2004-2009 the average price of a generic medicine fell from £5.24 to £3.96.’

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Protection officers must pay £70 a night for room and board at Buckingham Palace - then the Royal Family bills the taxpayer

By Jason Lewis

The Royal Family is charging the taxpayer for the room and board of armed police officers protecting the Queen.
The extraordinary fees  -  including £70 a night for a bed at Buckingham Palace  -  are levied for officers resting between shifts looking after Her Majesty, Prince Charles and other senior Royals.
The Palace also bills the Metropolitan Police for doing the officers' laundry and providing food for them at the Royal Household's staff canteens.
Top class: When Prince William skis in Courcheval, his guards get 
to relax at the Pomme de Pin hotel
Top class: When Prince William skis in Courcheval, his guards get to relax at the Pomme de Pin hotel
The charges add to the £1.5 million out of pocket expenses bill  -  paid for by the taxpayer  -  that police officers have already racked up this year protecting the Royals and senior politicians, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Last night, senior Home Office sources said a Government review of funding arrangements will question whether former politicians should pay towards their own bodyguards, particularly for business or private trips.
The huge figure does not include the cost of officers' flights and other travelling expenses but covers stays in luxury hotels and meals in expensive restaurants while on Royal protection duty.
Buckingham Palace issued a blanket 'no comment' last night when asked to explain why police officers were charged for accommodation.
Mad about money: Yet more expenses are revealed which will come as
 a shock to the taxpayer

A spokesman also refused to be drawn on how the bills were justified when the Queen and other Royals do not pay anything towards the cost of SO14, the Royal Protection squad, which is funded by the taxpayer.
A Mail on Sunday investigation can reveal that officers with the personal protection squad spent £318,000 between January and May on their Metropolitan Police-issue Barclaycards while travelling with the Royals.
The huge outlay included the cost of staying in hotels with Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton during skiing trips in France.
It also took in a trip to Panama and America with Prince Andrew and a 'reconnaissance' visit in advance of Prince William's tour of Australia and New Zealand in January.
The cost of protecting the Royals and politicians as they travel the world is under renewed scrutiny after The Mail on Sunday last week exposed the £250,000-a-year expenses bill run up by officers guarding Tony Blair as he travelled the world.
Security sources say the police are charged by the Palace even if an officer takes only a few hours' rest in a staff bedroom 
Generous 24-hour overtime rates meant they were paid three days' pay for every day they were abroad  -  'treble bubble' in police canteen slang.
The revelation prompted Foreign Secretary William Hague to demand that police protection for former Prime Ministers should not cost anything more 'than is absolutely necessary'.
Now fresh concerns are being raised over why the Royals appear to be charging the police  -  and therefore the taxpayer  -  for the privilege of guarding them.
The cost of police officers staying overnight at Buckingham Palace, for example, was an extraordinary £9,030 last month alone.
Security sources say the police are charged by the Palace even if an officer takes only a few hours' rest in a staff bedroom at the Palace between protection assignments.
In addition, 'around a dozen' cottages on the Queen's Balmoral estate in Scotland are leased to the Met for use by SO14 officers.
Figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday show that detectives were given £123,075 in cash from the Met's petty cash fund to cover three months' self-catering costs in the cottages.
Much of this money is understood to be paid as cash advances into officers' personal bank accounts and reconciled against their expenses claims, which include receipts for choice cuts of meat from H.M. Sheridan, the butcher in the nearby village of Ballater, where fillet steak costs £15.22 per lb.
There are also receipts from popular restaurant The Green Inn, which specialises in Scottish food with a French twist and features a set dinner menu priced at £40.50 for an appetiser plus three courses, including duck confit served with wild mushrooms and foie gras, and oven-roasted guinea fowl.
The cost of looking after the Royals on holiday is also under renewed scrutiny. Officers often arrive in a resort days beforehand to carry out a threat assessment and work out the safest transport options.
Pricey: Fillet steak at Balmoral costs £15.22 per lb
Expensive taste: A hot chocolate in Courchevel will set you back 
Revealed: Detectives claimed expenses on fillet steak at Balmoral costing £15.22 per lb, whilst in Courchevel they claimed on hot chocolate at £3.76 each
Prince William and Kate Middleton took their fourth foreign holiday in less than a year when they flew in March to the fashionable French resort of Courchevel. The couple stayed at a luxury chalet with friends including Kate's sister, Pippa.
With them were at least three armed officers, who spent more than £7,500 on the nine-day trip. Two of the guards stayed in the Hotel Pomme De Pin, where guests can ski in and out from the hotel terrace. Their two rooms and meals cost £6,173 at the three-star hotel.
The room charges included complimentary ski passes, but the officers also paid £232 for another ski pass for a police sergeant, £169.77 for ski hire 'in order to carry out protection duties', £103.86 for 'rental of snow mobile to carry out protection duties' and several warming cups of hot chocolate at the Boutique Grand Marnier, each costing £3.76.
Pricey: Prince William's visits to Courchevel to ski end up 
costing the taxpayer
Pricey: Prince William's visits to Courchevel to ski end up costing the taxpayer
A note accompanying the claims says: 'I was engaged on a confidential-overseas protection operation where because of language difficulties the expectation of the MPS [ Metropolitan Police Service] for officers to split bills was simply impracticable and would have drawn unnecessary attention.
'I have also paid for a ski pass . . . for PS ***** as at the time of purchase he was unable to pay for this himself as he was engaged on protection duties with the Principal [the Royal they were protecting].'
The expenses bill also includes claims for meals and snacks near RAF Odiham in Hampshire, where Prince William was based during a helicopter training course. One claim, from the White Hart at Stockbridge, included a meal for two featuring fillet steak priced at £17.95, lamb kidneys at £5.75 and three glasses of ginger beer.
Last night the Metropolitan Police refused to discuss the money it paid to the Royals for officers' accommodation at Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and elsewhere.
A spokeswoman reiterated its commitment to 'deliver value for money', adding: 'We monitor and scrutinise the cost of operations and expenses and report regularly to individual groups and the Metropolitan Police Authority.'
Big spender: Prince Andrew's security has been highlighted as a 
significant expense

Tony Blair and his £250k globe-trotting guards: Taxpayer left footing the bill for former Prime Minister's security

By Jason Lewis

Full details of Tony Blair's travels in the past year graphically show how he is dividing his time between money-making deals, holidays and international diplomacy.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed how the taxpayer has spent more than £250,000 paying the expenses of police bodyguards travelling with the former Prime Minister as he added to his £20million fortune, relaxed on luxury breaks and pursued his role as a UN peace negotiator.
It also can be revealed that the police  -  and therefore the taxpayer  -  sometimes pick up the bill for Mr Blair's transport. After an incident when police bodyguards paid the $230 cost of a limousine journey, a senior officer justified the expense with a note saying: 'When we make a decision around security matters ... it will fall down to us to pay.'
Busy boy: The map above shows a few of the locations Tony Blair 
has built up his expenses bill
Busy boy: The map above shows a few of the locations Tony Blair has built up his expenses bill
He added: 'I think that any moves away from this runs the risk of getting into the very public debate around the whole funding of [Mr Blair's] protection operations overseas.'
Last week Mr Blair's office rejected calls for him to pay towards the cost of his armed guards, arguing that he spends most of his time on unpaid charity work and on trying to secure peace in the Middle East. The former Premier spent about eight months of last year out of Britain.
Tony Blair
World tour: Tony Blair, pictured with his aide Ruth Turner, has built up quite a bill for taxpayer on his travels
But analysis of the travels of his security team  -  who fly with him and also in advance of overseas trips on security 'recces'  -  suggests he is also spending much of this time on his lucrative paid work.
Mr Blair is paid £2million a year as an adviser to Wall Street bank JP Morgan offering 'global strategic advice'. During a six-night trip to New York last September his bodyguards paid more than £465 a night to stay at the five-star Carlyle Hotel on fashionable Madison Avenue.
Mr Blair is also paid for similar help by Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi investment fund. One two-night stay for protection officers at the luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel cost more than £850, with a cappuccino and 'traditional English Cake' costing £11.69.
Critics suggest it is difficult to see the distinction between his holidays, charity work  -  he runs a Faith Foundation and the African Governance Initiative, trying to end corrupt practices in Rwanda and Sierra Leone  -  and his moneymaking ventures.
One of Mr Blair's trips at the end of last year to Abu Dhabi saw him meet the education minister in the morning to promote his charitable work and then the finance minister in the afternoon on behalf of JP Morgan.
The evidence from his guards' expenses claims also detail how Mr Blair took at least five luxury holidays last year, including six nights at Ulusaba, Sir Richard Branson's private game reserve in South Africa  -  described as 'the finest luxury known to man'.
The trip, in April, saw at least three officers travelling to the resort at a cost to the taxpayer of £2,050.

Spy Anna Chapman will NOT be allowed back in Britain: Home Office to revoke Russian femme fatale's citizenship and passport

By Jason Lewis and Will Stewart

Anna Chapman spy
Poster girl: Anna Chapman is staying with her family and will be banned from Britain
Russian spy Anna Chapman is to be banned from Britain on national security grounds. Home Secretary Theresa May will revoke her British citizenship and withdraw her British passport next week on the advice of MI5 and Government lawyers.
The decision came as Ms Chapman was yesterday undergoing debriefing by Russian secret ­services on her spying activities in the West and her arrest by the FBI, following an emotional reunion with her family.
Like the nine other spies returned to Moscow from the US, the 28-year-old redhead has been kept out of sight since FSB secret service cars whisked them away from a Russian govern­ment Yak-42 jet moments after it touched down on Friday.
It is understood Chapman has been reunited with her father ­Vasily, 52, who is officially listed as a 'diplomat' but is a senior career spy. She also saw her mother Irina, 51, and sister Katya, 23.
Chapman said that she wanted to return to live in London following her conviction in the US but, in addition to the Home Office probe, she is under investigation by MI5 regarding her activities in Britain before she moved to New York.
British Government lawyers are understood to be spending the weekend examining the case, but privately, senior Whitehall officials confirmed yesterday that her ­pass­port and citizenship would be withdrawn and she was likely to be put on a secret watch list barring her from entering the country.
The lawyers are understood to believe that she could lose her right to live in Britain on the grounds that her marriage to her British ex-husband was a sham. A Government source said: 'It has been decided that it would be highly distasteful if she were allowed back into Britain.'
An email sent by Chapman to a former boyfriend in Russia raised questions over her four-year marriage to public schoolboy Alex Chapman. In it she boasted: 'We lived together for the first year, then after we got married, we moved to London. Then I dumped him, got the passport and continued living in London on my own.'
Chapman is understood to be staying with her family outside the Russian capital. She became the poster girl for the spy ring of 'illegals' – or undeclared agents with diplomatic protection – that is now being widely mocked in Russia for having spent huge sums of taxpayers' money while achieving no known results.
Far from greeting the returning spies as heroes, the usually nationalistic Russian media yesterday played down the story, suggesting it was a significant embarrassment to the authorities. And veteran KGB agent Mikhail Lyubimov, who once lived in ­London, said the ring 'sounds ­preposterous to me, we've never used illegals like this'.
He dismissed Chapman as a 'Mata Hari' figure, suggesting she would be little use to any intelligence ser­vice and adding: 'It is a very strange exchange: Russian citizens swapped for Russian citizens.'
A Home Office spokesman said: 'The Home Secretary has the right to deprive dual nationals of their British citizenship where she considers that to do so would be con­ducive to the public good. This case is under urgent con­sideration.'
Meanwhile, the four alleged Western agents whose release was secured in the dramatic swap deal for the Russian spies were also being debriefed by MI5 in Britain and the CIA in the US.
The American willingness to quickly release ten Russian agents operating inside the US, after huge expenditures of money and manpower on a decade of sur­veillance, suggests the four men were seen as very important by Western intelligence.
Well before FBI agents moved against the operatives late that month, Washington had in mind that they might become bargaining chips to free Russians imprisoned for betraying Moscow and helping the West.
The US arrests were not made to facilitate a swap, an American intelligence official said yesterday, but were precipitated, at least partly, by the plans of several of the Russians to leave the US.
He said that as the time approached to take down the ring, CIA and FBI officials asked each other: 'Once the arrests take place, what do we do?' They decided that because the spies had been observed and tracked by US agents for so long, there was nothing to be learned from them, the official said.
'Once in custody, the operatives 'provided an opportunity for us to get something from the Russians'.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Five star luxury of Blairs' police squad: Astonishing £5,000 a week expense claims (right down to £1.19 packet of Percy Pigs)

By Jason Lewis
Last updated at 3:31 AM on 4th July 2010
The extraordinary cost to the taxpayer of protecting former Prime Minister Tony Blair as he travels the globe earning his vast fortune can be revealed by The Mail on Sunday today.
His team of bodyguards are costing taxpayers £250,000 a year in expenses alone as they stay in some of the world’s most exclusive locations, running up vast bills for luxury hotels and expensive meals while Mr Blair swells his £20 million personal fortune.
Our investigation also reveals that total spending on Royal and diplomatic protection squad expenses has reached more than £1.5 million so far this year, with officers claiming for everything from luxury hotels to petty items such as Percy Pig sweets and chocolate chip cookies.
 Former British Prime Minister and international Middle East envoy
 Tony Blai
'A' team: Tony Blair's bodyguards cost taxpayers £250,000 a year in expenses alone

One male Royal protection officer accompanying Princes William and Harry to the World Cup in South Africa even claimed for two £37 women’s blouses and a £30 pair of ladies’ shorts.
The expenses claims seen by The Mail on Sunday only represent a small part of the total cost to the taxpayer of the protection squad, which also includes the huge cost of hundreds of international flights and a burgeoning wages bill.

Sources also say that officers are given a generous 24-hour overtime rate while abroad – meaning they are paid even when they are asleep. They are regarded as being on duty around the clock, so get three days’ pay for every day they are abroad – ‘treble bubble’ in police canteen slang.

The revelations will raise new questions about the high cost of providing bodyguards to former politicians and whether wealthy individuals such as Mr Blair should be asked to contribute to the spiralling costs.
International Mideast envoy Tony Blair, center, visits the Kerem 
Shalom crossing, between Israel and the Gaza Strip
Mission: Blair spends much of his time abroad, either in his role as International Mideast envoy or on lucrative business dealings - he is thought to have amassed a £20million fortune
The former Prime Minister can earn up to £80,000 an hour for a speaking engagement – which means he could clear his protection team’s annual expenses bill with
little over three hours’ work.

Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday show the highest claims come from the squad protecting Mr Blair on his luxury holidays and international business trips – whose expenses amount to nearly £5,000 a week. Their annual figure was nearly double the £135,000 submitted by the officers protecting Gordon Brown in his last year as Prime Minister. Former Tory Prime Minister Sir John Major’s bodyguards cost the taxpayer a further £119,000 in expenses bills.

Last night Scotland Yard refused to discuss the issue beyond confirming that protection officers’ overtime rates were among the highest in the force. But the revelations come as the Government plans huge cuts in Home Office expenditure with large numbers of police officers expected to be made redundant.

Tory MP Richard Bacon, a member of the powerful Commons’ public accounts committee, said last night: ‘It is right and proper for the taxpayer to fund protection services for former Prime Ministers and ensure their safety.

‘But it is surely wrong for the hard-pressed public – especially at a time of massive spending cutbacks – to be spending such large amounts of public money protecting them while they travel the world on trips often designed purely for their personal financial gain.

‘It really is time that former Premiers in this situation made a contribution from their own considerable earnings towards the cost of their security.’
Tony Blair visits a bear sanctuary in Borneo August 2009
Holiday time: Tony and Cherie Blair during their stay in Borneo last August

Wherever Mr Blair travels, a team of up to five personal bodyguards from the Metropolitan Police SO1 Specialist Protection unit – which provides armed personal protection for Ministers, public officials and visiting foreign dignitaries at threat from terrorism – go as well.

Mr Blair now spends much of his time abroad, either in his international diplomatic role, as a UN Middle East envoy, on his lucrative business dealings or on holiday.

During a two-week break in Borneo last summer, officers ran up a total bill of almost £22,000 on their Metropolitan Police Barclaycard.

This was immediately followed by Tony and Cherie making a week-long visit the luxurious and exclusive Como Shambhala health retreat in Bali, where the cost of the three-man police team’s stay was £6,873.

An October holiday to the private Turks and Caicos island resort of Parrot Cay involved another expenses bill of £6,247; while Mr Blair’s bodyguards paid £721 to stay in a hotel last July when the former Premier was the guest of the world’s fourth richest man, Oracle software head Larry Ellison aboard his £150million super yacht The Rising Sun off Sardinia.

As well as the holidays, police officers have accompanied Mr Blair on more than 21 international trips in the first four months of 2010 to destinations including Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Liberia, China, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia and the USA.

On New Year’s Eve several members of Mr Blair’s protection team were deployed in Oxford. One officer claimed £984 for five nights in the Malmaison Hotel, while the team also claimed a £213.84 restaurant bill, which they said was so high because of the extra costs of eating out on December 31.

Other expenses seen by The Mail on Sunday include:

  • £464 a night to stay at the elegant Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where they also claimed £56 for pizzas plus a £5 tip, which was queried by the accounts department.
  • £150 for limousine hire after a helicopter taking Mr Blair and his bodyguards from New York to Yale University had to turn back in bad weather.
  • £280 a night for the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem; £348 a night at the Kempinski hotel, Dubai; £180 a night at the Sofitel, Brussels; and £414 a night in the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.
  • £3,020 in cash to cover expenses for a trip to Sierra Leone in February, which they spent without obtaining receipts.
  • £6,693 for one officer flying from Jerusalem to Jeddah, then on to Kuala Lumpur, then Indonesia, Singapore and Washington DC on a ‘recce’ trip to assess the security situation for planned future trips by Mr Blair. In the process he stayed in some of the world’s finest hotels, including one night at the Jeddah Hilton which cost £1,264. He was told the room rate was so high as the hotel was full of pilgrims stranded by the volcanic ash cloud that grounded flights.
  • £4,800 for one month’s expenses by one officer who was forced to stay overseas for 22 days, also because of the volcanic ash disruption.
  • £38.73 for two white teas, a chocolate milkshake, an ‘Olympic’ breakfast, mixed grill and a rib eye steak at the Little Chef in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
Last night a spokesman for Scotland Yard said: ‘Like all public services the Metropolitan Police Service has to prove that it delivers value for money. We are committed to achieving this and with anticipated budget cuts we are  even more focused on how we can best do this.

‘Police officer terms and conditions are highly regulated. Overtime is called upon when it is essential to maintain operational effectiveness.

‘The few officers receiving significant payments in respect of overtime are mainly in undercover roles or in Royalty and diplomatic protection units. In such areas working time is determined by the operational circumstances and, in the case of protection officers, requirements of the principal [the VIP they are protecting].

‘We monitor and scrutinise levels of overtime and expenses. We have focused, and continue to focus, on reducing overtime costs and have provided more effective support to management in monitoring overtime.

‘The Metropolitan Police Service seeks to book the cheapest travel available, bearing in mind operational demands. All overseas travel by members of the service is subject to authorisation by a senior police officer or a senior member of police staff in overall charge of a business area, and must be justified and supported by a business case.

‘The Met expects its staff to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times. Any allegation that the conduct of our officers has fallen below this standard is treated extremely seriously.’

Last night a spokeswoman for the Home Office, which oversees the funding of the diplomatic and Royal protection squads, would not discuss the budget for their work.
She said: ‘We do not comment on operational policing matters for security reasons.’


The policeman sweet on Percy Pigs – and olympic breakfasts

The elite protection officers have a liking for sweets and unhealthy breakfasts while on duty.
Hidden in the detail of a £3,500 bill from last May is a claim, made by an officer protecting Tony Blair, for snacks from the Aylesbury branch of Marks & Spencer – including a packet of ‘Percy Pig’ chews.
The pig-shaped raspberry-flavoured sweets sell for £1.19 and were picked by Vogue magazine as a ‘hot trend’ in 2008. The same officer also claimed for a Little Chef ‘Olympic’ breakfast on a trip to Bicester, where he was joined by three other officers.
The group also ordered a mixed grill and a rib-eye steak. Mr Blair’s protection team are not the only officers with a sweet tooth. One officer who travelled with the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband last year filed claims from around the world for chocolate cookies. Bills for stops at motorway service areas from several officers feature claims for Mars Bars and Snickers. 

The male sergeant who put in claim for women’s clothes

A male protection officer who accompanied Princes William and Harry to the World Cup in Africa claimed for women’s clothing to take on the trip.
Britain's Princes William (L), Harry and David Beckham
Unsuitable kit: William and Harry in South Africa with David Beckham - one of their male protection officers claimed for women's clothing
The officer submitted his expenses days after returning from the six-day tour with the Princes, which saw them watch England play against Algeria in South Africa before visiting neighbouring Botswana and Lesotho. The trip was designed to promote England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018.
The 'Broken String' blouse, priced £37.50
It is now winter in South Africa but, despite this, the officer was able to claim £300 for ‘warm weather clothing’. On July 1 he submitted a claim for several items he had purchased before the trip at Marks & Spencer, British Home Stores and fashion clothing store
White Stuff.

The experienced sergeant submitted receipts totalling £308.55 and was reimbursed for £300, the limit for such claims.
He attached a note for his Chief Superintendent explaining: ‘Prior to this trip I purchased some warm weather clothing in accordance with the warm weather clothing allowance to the value of £300 and as agreed by Ms ****** and authorised by Chief Inspector ****.
‘Please may I be refunded these expenses. I have not previously claimed this allowance in nine years of overseas travel with SO14.’
However, close inspection reveals that the attached receipt for White Stuff, which totalled £224.95, included three pieces of women’s clothing.
The three items, a ‘Broken String’ blouse, priced £37.50, a ‘Poppy’ shirt, priced £37.50, and ‘Here To Stay’ shorts, priced £29.95, were all approved by Scotland Yard, along with the officer’s other purchases.

£35k bill for three Blair jaunts (that’s EXCLUDING flights)

Breath-taking: Infinity pool and sunloungers at the Shambhala Estate, Bali

Tony and Cherie Blair took three luxurious holidays abroad last year accompanied by a contingent of highly trained armed protection officers paid for by the British taxpayer.
While the former Prime Minister and his wife enjoyed five-star exclusive resorts in Borneo, Bali and the Turks and Caicos islands, their team of bodyguards remained vigilantly watching over them. The three trips during July, August and October cost the taxpayer at least £35,000 to pay for the officers’ room and board in some of the world’s most expensive resorts.
The out-of-pocket claims do not include the officers’ travel expenses or the large sums in overtime they are entitled to for every hour they spend abroad.

Nexus Resort, Borneo, July-August 2009

When Tony and Cherie Blair flew to Borneo on a family holiday at the secluded five-star Nexus Resort in Karammbunai, their taxpayer-funded police officers were
there too.

The Blairs and their police officers stayed at the resort for two weeks and by the time they left the officers had run up a total bill on their Metropolitan Police Barclaycard of almost £22,000. The ‘dream destination’, set on a beautiful white sandy spit of land that juts into the South China Sea and surrounded by tropical rain forests, is the perfect retreat for the rich and famous.
The Blairs relaxed in a Royal Villa, the most expensive accommodation offered by the resort – and the three-man police team stayed next door in a similar £1,200-a-night six-bed villa, even though single rooms were available from £150.
There are only six exclusive Royal and Presidential Villas at the resort, each with a private garden, spacious living and dining areas, panoramic views of the sea and their own swimming pools and Jacuzzi.
A ‘protection command report’ attached to the claim says: ‘Sir, This report related to accommodation and other charges on my Visa bill for August to September 2009.
‘RT Hon Tony Blair to a family holiday in Borneo... members of the Protection team ******, were housed in a Royal Villa next to the Principal – the charge was approximately £1,000 a night.
‘This accommodation was wholly necessary for the integrity of the protection operation and was authorised by my team leader
DI *****.

'Other sundry items appear on this bill including food and soft drinks and laundry. All expenditure was authorised
by DI *****’

The cost included a laundry bill of nearly £200. A handwritten note explains ‘essential laundry due to climate and humidity’.
The officers also hired a Toyota Ninja landcruiser as a ‘back-up vehicle’ at a cost of £1,700 and spent a further £70 on taxi fares.
Royal Villa
Fit for a king: The Blairs stayed in a £1,200-a-night Royal Villa similar to this in Borneo


The Shambhala Estate describes itself as a residential health retreat promising ‘total commitment to your improved well-being’.
Tony and Cherie Blair travelled to the resort for a week-long break and once again SO1 officers were there to provide close protection.
Three officers shared a luxury villa at the resort which cost £6,873. They enjoyed several sumptuous meals in the resort’s Glow restaurant, described in the brochure as ‘a contemporary, open-sided, all-day dining restaurant’.
Three officers also dined at Kemiri Restaurant, enjoying beef salad, followed by lamb fillet, pork belly and tender loin with french fries, washed down with orange juice and sparkling water. The bills contain no claims for alcohol as the officers were on duty and are barred from drinking.
The three finished with different desserts, opting for apple crumble, chocolate fondant and passion fruit.

Documents reveal that one officer also spent US $60 plus taxes for a four-hour elephant safari and ‘four seasons’ tour and another US $24 for ‘tour to elephant safari’. It is not known if he was accompanying the Blairs on the excursion.
The high level of expenses claims were queried by Scotland Yard. A report explaining one officer from SO1’s visa bill relating to the trip says: ‘£6873.51 related to accommodation at Commo Shambhama Estate at Begawan Giri, Bali... for the protection team covering the summer holiday of (Tony Blair).
‘I can confirm that the accommodation was a shared villa occupied by *****. The cost covers the cost of accommodation, food, laundry and transport taken by the officers during the stay.
‘Due to the remoteness of the location the officers were unable to take meals anywhere else other than within the estate, it would have compromised the protection package if meals were taken elsewhere.’


Parrot Cay describes itself as the Caribbean’s ‘pre-eminent private island’, offering the super rich 1,000 unspoilt acres, ‘health-giving cuisine’ and beach houses with private pools.
Documents reveal that a team of four officers were deployed to look after Mr and Mrs Blair. Two travelled in advance and two arrived later with the Blairs. The team were housed in a villa during the week-long stay and ran up a bill of £6,247.
The cost again raised eyebrows in the accounts department at Scotland Yard.
Justifying the cost, one of the officers wrote: ‘In order that the Principal was provided with discreet but effective protection from his team, it was necessary to locate one accompanying officer within his villa and house the remaining officers in an adjoining villa. The cost of this arrangement was negotiated to the same level rate at the main hotel (ie $390 per person, per night) – £257 each per night.’
The officers’ itemised bill for their stay shows they made regular use of the Lotus poolside bar where several of them met up for lunch each day.
Each evening the officers retired to their villa – a three-bedroom house set in an acre and a half of its own land with a huge sun deck and its own infinity pool and direct access to the beach – where they ordered a room service dinner.

REVEALED: How protection teams claim thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to guard former Prime Ministers

By Jason Lewis
Last updated at 2:52 AM on 4th July 2010
 John Major
Sir John Major: Trips to New York, Chicago, Manila, Zurich, Seoul and Jamaica so far this year
Officers protecting Sir John Major ran up a £120,000 bill for hotels and fine dining last year as the former Tory Prime Minister flew around the world to pursue his lucrative business interests.
Sir John, who resigned as Conservative leader following his 1997 General Election defeat, has built up a portfolio of international directorships.
Until 2005 he was a highly-paid adviser to the American private equity Carlyle Group and has also worked for US firm Emerson Electric and UK car components and bus firm Mayflower.
His more recent commitments are less well-documented, but this year they have taken him – and his taxpayer-funded protection team – to New York, Chicago, Manila, Zurich, Seoul and Jamaica.

In October his busy schedule took him to Singapore and Stockholm and back to London and his home in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
These movements were reflected in the expenses claims of his armed protection team, which included five nights in the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore at a total cost of £2,154.

The bill included two officers treating Sir John to dinner at the elegant Raffles Grill.
Another claim includes a £516 bill for a two-night stay at the five-star Grand Hotel in Stockholm, and a further trip in March saw three officers fly with Sir John to Miami and then on to Seoul and Jamaica, with one officer submitting a claim for £6,761.
Raffles Hotel,Singapore.
The Raffles Hotel in Singapore, where two officers treated Sir John to dinner

The claim also includes $64 US [£43] for a ‘River Tubing Safari’ for two officers when they accompanied Sir John to Jamaica. It is unclear whether Sir John was in attendance.

The trip is described as a ‘three-mile ride down the White River’.


An officer was sent in advance of Sir John for the Miami section of the trip to check out security. Scotland Yard accounts questioned why he did not stay in a cheaper Comfort Inn hotel.

But his superior wrote back authorising his £345 stay in a Marriott because ‘on occasion the wrong type of “people” [utilise] these chains’.

Beef Wellington, sea bass, rack of lamb ...  ‘awaiting Principal’s movement’ on New Year’s Eve

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, where Tony Blair (below) often stays
Former British prime minister

Tony Blair’s new role as a global businessman and international peace envoy means a team of elite firearms officers at Scotland Yard are on stand-by to join him anywhere in the world – often at very short notice.
A rota involving around 20 officers is constantly on the move as Mr Blair flies to the Middle East one week and America the next, all at great public expense.
In the first five months of this year officers from this diplomatic protection team have flown to some 21 countries, sometimes with the former Prime Minister and at other times in advance of his proposed trip to ensure nothing is left to chance over his personal security.

The money-making trips

Mr Blair’s personal fortune is now believed to have grown to £20 million, swelled by speaking engagements and business enterprises around the globe.
In April this year up to eight protection officers accompanied Mr Blair on a trip to South East Asia. The expenses claims of some of those officers show that they stayed in two of the region’s best hotels, the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur and the Four Seasons in Singapore.
After six nights at the Four Seasons, one officer submitted a claim for 259 Singapore dollars (about £125) in laundry charges and 135 Singapore dollars (£65) for use of the hotel’s business centre. The total charge for his stay at the hotel was £1,610.
Mr Blair made two speeches during the trip, which took place just before
the General Election while Labour was receiving a drubbing in the polls.
He was paid the astonishing sum of £350,000 to address a meeting of the National Achievers’ Congress, which organises forums for young entrepreneurs. Mr Blair told 3,000 would-be millionaires gathered in a vast shopping mall near Kuala Lumpur:
‘Power is shifting east! You guys are at the cutting edge of things here in Malaysia!’
The night in the city for Mr Blair’s protection officer cost the taxpayer £252 in hotel expenses.
Beef Wellington
Blair's protection officers put in a £213 bill for a meal including beef wellington

New Year’s Eve in Oxford

On New Year’s Eve last year several members of Mr Blair’s protection team were ‘deployed in Oxford awaiting the Principal’s movements’.
But bosses were later to query the officers’ £213.84 bill for a meal, including pheasant, beef wellington, sea bass, a rack of lamb, bread and butter pudding and sticky toffee pudding and soft drinks at Browns Restaurant. It was pointed out by the police accounts department that the cost of the meal was over the strict limits for dining in the UK.
In response, one of the officers wrote: ‘We attended Browns Restaurant for dinner and were required to book a table due to the unusually large demand that night (there was very limited availability in the area). There was a set cost of £35 per person, due to the obvious additional staffing costs etc incurred on a New Year’s Eve.’
The officer also claimed for five nights in the Malmaison Hotel, Oxford, at a cost of £984 to the taxpayer.

No receipt for limousine hire

Accompanying Mr Blair on one of this many trips to America, an SO1 officer was deployed to New York, where they stayed at the historic and elegant Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at a cost to the taxpayer of £464 a night.
Scotland Yard’s ‘protection command expenses team’ queried why there was a ‘missing receipt for limousine hire’ for £150 on a trip to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where Mr Blair is a visiting lecturer on faith.
In response the officer said he and Mr Blair had begun the journey to Yale by helicopter but had to land because of fog. ‘I made enquires for a limousine service (taxi) to our destination. Mr Levin, the President of Yale, immediately offered the services of a vehicle hired by a Yale official… In order that we could maintain control of the Principal’s movements… I hired an accredited limousine.’

One night in Jeddah

In April one SO1 officer travelled from Jerusalem to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, to Indonesia, on to Singapore and then to Washington DC, billing the taxpayer £6,693.
In the process he stayed in some of the world’s finest and most expensive hotels. One night in the Jeddah Hilton alone cost £1,264. He told Scotland Yard officials: ‘I booked into the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah.
On check-in I handed my credit card to the receptionist and this was processed.
‘At this point I asked for the room rate and was given the figure of 7,072.50 riyals, which equates to £1,264.06. I stated that there must have been a mistake and asked for a normal room. I was told the hotel was full with pilgrims, who were unable to leave the hotel due to the volcanic ash situation.’

Stranded by the volcanic ash cloud

The volcanic ash cloud caused problems for another officer whose April credit card bill was more than £4,800.
When his claims were questioned, he wrote: ‘This period… was during the volcanic ash trouble which happened whilst I was overseas for a five-day deployment. In the end I was overseas for 22 days and incurred laundry charges due to not having enough clothes.’
During the period the officer and several colleagues were forced to stay in the $550-a-night American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, regularly dining in the hotel’s cellar bar, before travelling on to the £300-a-night Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur and the £184-a-night Singapore Four Seasons Hotel.