Belarus Links: Lord Bell questions money claims of senior colleague

 

Lord Bell last night sought to answer questions about Bell Pottinger's audit trail for the company's work in Belarus, after one of his most senior executives cast doubt on who had been paying for its work in Europe's last dictatorship.

The chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Relations, David Wilson, told undercover reporters who he thought were representing the repressive Uzbek government, that, in Belarus, "we were being funded by a – shall we say – a rich benefactor who had key interests in Belarus".

Mr Wilson added: "In our work for Belarus, nobody knows who paid us but Belarus. As far as they were aware we were working on behalf of the government."

Lord Bell, the chairman of Bell Pottinger's parent group, Chime Communications, told The Independent last night that Mr Wilson, one of his closest colleagues, was wrong.

"All invoices were sent to the Belarus government and all payments were received from the Belarus government," Lord Bell said.

"What David Wilson said was not true, I have no idea why he said it."

During the meeting, Mr Wilson had pointed out the need for an audit trail because Chime Communications is a listed company.

He was asked by one undercover reporter, "Do you need to know who our backers are? If you don't know, there's deniability, isn't there?" Mr Wilson replied: "It would be useful... I'd have to check with my chairman. Because he would probably say we should know who we're working for, because if the media asks us, 'Who is your client?' there has to be an audit trail because we are a quoted company. We have to be ethical."

When asked, "Couldn't you just say you're working for [the front company] the Azimov Group? Do you need to know who is paying us?" Mr Wilson added: "I do understand that. In our work for Belarus, nobody knows who paid us."

Bell Pottinger ceased working for Belarus in 2009. Mr Wilson said, "Unfortunately our funding line stopped."

Related links
* Lobbyists - full related links

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
* thebureauinvestigates.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + 15% Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a l...

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Year 3 Welsh Teacher vacancy in Penarth

£110 - £120 per day + Travel Scheme and Free training: Randstad Education Card...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz