Saturday, June 01, 2013

Being an ex-head of government is profitable

Profil reports today that Alfred Gusenbauer, Social Democratic Chancellor of Austria 2007-8, is under investigation by Austrian federal officials for possibly passing secret parliamentary files to the dictatorial government of Kazakhstan. It's not clear from the report how serious it might be for Gusenbauer.

But I was struck by the information in the report that the Kazakh regime of Nursultan Nazarbayev has several former heads of government working for it as paid consultants, including Britain's Tony Blair, Gusenbauer, Poland's Alexander Kwaśniewski, Italy's Romano Prodi, and Germany's Gerhard Schröder. (Ulla Kramar-Schmid and Michael Nikbakhsh, Causa Aliyev: Alfred Gusenbauer unter Spionageverdacht 01.06.2013)

They write, "Es gilt als offenes Geheimnis, dass Nasarbajew seine Triple-A-Konsulenten jährlich mit siebenstelligen Beträgen entschädigt, wobei Tony Blair mit kolportierten neun Millionen Euro Jahresverdienst ganz oben steht." ("It is taken as an open secret that Nazarbayev compensates his Triple-A consultants with seven-figure amounts, whereby Tony Blair with a supposed nine million euro annual service stays at the very top.") That would be about $12 million at current exchange rates.

That's staggering. They add, "Was man dafür leisten muss?" ("What must they do for that?") A very good question.

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