Pandora papers cast doubt on ex-Tory minister’s claim he received no payment from Kazakh government for flattering biography
- Pandora papers news and reaction – live updates
- See all of our Pandora papers coverage
In April 2010 Jonathan Aitken flew to Washington. The former Conservative MP and minister, famously jailed for lying, was in the US for the launch of his latest book: a flattering biography of Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. “Biographers are artists on oath,” he told an audience of senators and diplomats. “They like painting on a broad canvas.” He added: “I have never had a more dramatic and turbulent canvas than the life story of Nazarbayev.”
Aitken’s speech at the prestigious Library of Congress failed to mention one crucial point: that a PR firm working for the Kazakh government appears to have secretly commissioned and paid for his book. According to the Pandora papers leak, Aitken got £166,000 for his literary efforts. The money was routed via Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands and discreetly sent to Oxford and the ex-MP’s company, Aitken Consultancy & Research Services Limited.