Tony Blair’s $1m donation from a reformed Junk Bond King
It has been a long time since Michael Milken’s name was big news in this country. He was the 1980s Junk Bond King, who piled up untold wealth in the boom years, but came to grief at the end of that decade when he copped a 10-year jail sentence, a $200 million fine and a permanent ban on dealing in securities, after pleading guilty to six felonies, in what was then the biggest fraud case in the history of the US securities industry. The jail sentence was later reduced to two years. Since his release, he has reinvented himself as a philanthropist, contributing huge sums to medical research.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the star guest at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills this week was Tony Blair. The former Prime Minister was asked about a number of topics, including his time as a wannabe rock star, at Oxford University, when he was lead singer for a band called Ugly Rumours.
He told Michael Milken: “I think one of the great experiences that you should go through in life is to be in a rock band. That is for many reasons—some of which I’ll go into and some of which I won’t.”
He added: “If you want to be good at anything, whether as a rock musician or a politician, you’ve got to have talent.”
His answers must have gone down well, because when the session ended, Mr Milken informed his “visibly shocked” guest that he was donating $1 million to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
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