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Jonathan Aitken was paid £166,000 for book on Kazakh autocrat, leak suggests

Pandora papers cast doubt on ex-Tory minister’s claim he received no payment from Kazakh government for flattering biography

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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.

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