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Liam Fox Was Paid £20,000 To Attend A Bank's Conference For Two Days

The former defence minister has declared the payment for an event in Sydney last year at which he gave a 40-minute speech.

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Former Conservative cabinet minister Liam Fox was paid £20,000 by an Australian bank to attend a conference over the course of two days and speak for 40 minutes.

NAB Australia, one of Australia's largest financial institutions, invited Fox to Sydney late last year to attend its biannual Superannuation FX Conference. He was the keynote speaker at the event, which was billed as an "opportunity to tune in to how Australian funds are managing currency risk and capturing currency returns in a market increasingly impacted by global economics, policies and geopolitics".

Fox declared the payment and it is detailed in the latest update to parliament's register of members' interests.

The event's website said that in his keynote speech, billed to last for 40 minutes, the former defence secretary would "shed light on how security issues, politics and policy are affecting financial markets".

Fox has also recently earned money overseas from sales of his book Rising Tides.

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As Private Eye revealed last month, Fox has yet to declare any royalties on the book in the UK, but he did receive £4,344.91 in royalties for a translation of the book published by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, which according to its website, is directed by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

Fox has also received flights and accommodation worth £3,579.94 from The European Azerbaijani Society (TEAS), which has published Baku and Turkish translations of the book. In 2014 he received £5,700 for the translation rights from TEAS.

A 2014 press release includes a quote from TEAS's director in which he says of Fox's book: "I think it will be possible to write a weighty work about Azerbaijan on the basis of his ideas. In the book, a variety of chapters complement each other. There is a deep political analysis, and the results demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the author on the subject."

However, the relationship between TEAS and British MPs has previously been called into question due to Azerbaijan's record on human rights, not least after WikiLeaks obtained a 2010 US diplomatic cable from charge d'affaires Don Lu who said that while TEAS appeared to be an independent advocacy group, "its [sic] talking points very much reflect the goals and objectives of the GOAJ [government of Azerbaijan]".

Fox – who topped ConservativeHome's latest poll of party members for the next Tory leader – has recently been campaigning for Britain to leave the EU.

Paul Ellis / AFP / Getty Images

Last month he spoke at the launch of Grassroots Out, telling a crowd of around 2,000 that he wanted Britain to become "an independent sovereign nation" again. Yesterday he criticised President Barack Obama for involving himself in the EU debate, saying: "The next time the American president wants to give us advice about remaining in the EU, which of course he's free to do, he can do it when he has an open border with Mexico and a Supreme Court that can override their own Supreme Court."

BuzzFeed News contacted Fox for comment but he was unavailable at the time of publication.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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