we learned that former British prime minister Tony Blair
emailed called disgraced News Corp. executive Rebekah Brooks in 2011 to offer his "unofficial" consulting services as she faced arrest over the company's metastasizing phone hacking scandal. And last year, we learned that Blair had also been allegedly fucking Murdoch's then-wife Wendi Deng in a bizarre love triangle. Today, we learned that, according to tax documents Gawker has obtained, Murdoch's News Corp. was paying Blair's private foundation while all this incestuous, wheels-within-wheels melodrama was going on.
According to the tax return it filed for the 2011 calendar year, the U.S. arm of Blair's Faith Foundation received a $100,000 contribution from News Corp. that year, just as Blair was increasingly involving himself in the personal and professional affairs of the News Corp. executives in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
A day after News of the World printed its last edition, according emails entered into evidence in Brook's ongoing criminal trial, Blair got in touch with the News Corp. executive to offer her, Rupert, and his son James advice on a "between us" basis. He counseled Brooks to "keep strong" and "take sleeping pills." She was arrested six days later.
While Blair was bestowing this wisdom upon Brooks, The Tony Blair Faith Foundation U.S. — dedicated to "[providing] leaders with the knowledge and analysis to understand the impact and complexity of religion in the world" — was collecting donations from News Corp., to the tune of $100,000 in 2011. There were no donations from News Corp. in the year before that, according to donor rolls acquired by Gawker.
Documents, available for viewing here, detail major contributions to Blair's Connecticut-based foundation. In 2011, Blair's foundation appeared to be largely underwritten by media heavyweights, like Haim Saban, Barry Diller's IAC and News Corp.
If Wendi Deng's leaked notes are to be interpreted as evidence of an affair between Blair and Deng, Blair could very well have been sleeping with Murdoch's wife at the very same time he was collecting Rupert's donations at the Faith Foundation and doling out advice to the media mogul and his deputies. Deng first revealed just how close Blair was to the Murdochs in a 2011 UK Vogue interview. In 2012, the same year that Deng served as a judge for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's short film contest, Deng and Blair reportedly had several liaisons that raised Murdoch's suspicions and damned the marriage. One of those was a night the two spent at the Murdochs' Carmel ranch—at which, according to Vanity Fair, the two were "feeding each other during dinner"—before jetting off the next day to meet Rupert for a Faith Foundation fundraiser. "That, for Murdoch, was the straw that broke the camel's back," Vanity Fair reported.
Blair denied the affair last summer.
So where does that leave us? Tony Blair's advice seems to have been pretty worthless. Brooks now faces possible prison time for her role in the phone-hacking scandal; Murdoch and Deng are now divorced, a split the Blair affair is rumored to have played no small part in bringing about; and, naturally, Murdoch and Blair aren't on speaking terms.
If there was any quid-pro-quo agreement behind Murdoch's contribution to Blair's foundation, he should ask for his money back.
News Corp. declined to comment; the Faith Foundation said only, "the Tony Blair Faith Foundation does not name individuals or organisations who donate to us."
Eli Clifton is a writer in New York.
[Images via Getty]