Master conman Peter Foster will be released from the minimum security Numinbah Jail at the back of the Gold Coast today after serving two years and three months for money laundering.

Foster did most of his porridge in maximum security and was only moved to Numinbah after Premier Anna Bligh’s election victory in March.

He has told his Brisbane lawyer that he intends continuing a Supreme Court action against London’s Daily Mail over the payment of $200,000 he claims that he is owed for his unpublished memoirs.

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Central to Foster’s story is what happened in London in 2003 when he became unofficial financial adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie Blair QC, via his live-in girlfriend, Carole Caplin, Mrs Blair’s style guru.

The Gold Coast-born fraudster helped Mrs Blair purchase two investment units in Bristol at highly advantageous rates.

When the story broke, No 10 Downing Street issued a statement categorically denying that Mrs Blair had consorted with Foster or even knew him.

A few days later she made a tearful confession after the publication of an email from her to Foster which said: “I cannot thank you enough for taking these negotiations over for me.”

The PM’s wife had been caught out lying. Perhaps not as serious a lie as her husband’s claim that there were WMDs in Iraq, but a lie nevertheless. It’s probably a family thing.

The Caplin connection with the Blairs still intrigues the London newspapers. In their biography of Blair’s media tough guy Alistair Campbell in 2004, political journalists Peter Oborne and Simon Walters wrote that Mrs Blair found peace of mind “in Carole Caplin’s dotty world of bath crystals and designer clothes”.

At the height of Cheriegate, Rupert Murdoch’s mass-selling News of the World turned on Mrs Blair after she refused to grant an exclusive interview delivering the front-page headline: “S-x, Crystals and Witchcraft”.

The article claimed that Caplin “washed off naked Cherie’s toxins in the shower” and got her to do “bizarre s-xual exercises”.

The News of the World’s lurid sensations would have died in the Street of Shame except for the publication of Lord Levy’s biography A Question of Honour in April 2008.

Levy, known as Lord Cashpoint, was a former Blair loyalist and irrepressible fund-raiser who came to grief when he was linked to the practice of selling peerages in the cash-for-honors scandal.

In the book, Levy revealed that he had confronted Blair about the “long massages” he was receiving from Ms Caplin. Lord Levy wrote:

“With increasingly worrisome media reports of Carole’s role, a key member of Tony’s team asked me to see the Prime Minister and use my personal relationship with him to urge ‘distance’. The concern was not just about Cherie. The main worry was Tony, specifically, gossip within No 10 concerning visits Carole was making to Chequers to give an increasingly stressed Prime Minister long massages.

“When I went to see Tony, I was deeply uncomfortable about raising the subject. But I told him there was a real danger Carole could become ‘not just an issue for Cherie but for you’. Tony went bright red. I never raised the matter again, and nor did he. But he got the message.”

Since his deportation from the UK in 2003, Foster has told interviewers that he knows more about the companionship between his live-in girlfriend and Blair, a celebrated convert to Roman Catholicism interviewed last year in grovelling fashion by the ABC’s Geraldine Doogue.

Foster believes that he has a tale to tell — but who will believe him?

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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