Former chairperson and founder of the London based public relations firm Lord Bell, current CEO James Henderson (pictured), and Atul Gupta spoke to BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday about the campaign to exploit racial tensions in South Africa.
During the interview Henderson said his firm made no money form the campaign. He also has no intention to come to South Africa to explain the company’s public relations campaign for the controversial Gupta family.
Eyewitness News quotes Atul who denies seeking Bell Pottinger’s services for political reasons. The Gupta brother and close friend of President Jaco Zuma maintains that the company was only helping with PR for the family’s Oakbay Investments. Yet, Lord Bell has a different version of their agreement.
Gupta insists that there was nothing dodgy about his family’s business relationship with Bell Pottinger.
“I really do not know what they’re coming from. Bell Pottinger is like an adviser but I think such an articulate company should not be doing anything funny.”
However, Bell says that the Guptas requested a campaign that included mobilising people on the ground to highlight that the lives of black people hadn’t changed since 1994.
The likes of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan have called on the PR firm to pay back the money made from their dealings with the Guptas to South Africa as part of reparations.
But Henderson says the company did not benefit from the campaign for the Guptas.
“It would be wrong to say we have made money from this account in any way,” he said.