18 September 2017

South Africa: Bell Pottinger Fallout Continues As Geoghegan's Father Quits UK Firm

The fallout following Bell Pottinger's collapse and entry into administration last week has continued, with the man who introduced the Guptas to the PR firm stepping down from the board of UK services company Rentokil on Monday.

Chris Geoghegan's decision to step down with immediate effect from Rentokil as a non-executive director and chairperson of its remuneration committee was announced on Monday.

It follows a story in The Times of London last week that he was paid £120 000 for brokering the deal between the Guptas and Bell Pottinger.

His daughter, Victoria Geoghegan, then headed up Bell Pottinger's contract with the Guptas, but was fired this year when an investigation revealed she "misled" senior management about the work she was doing. She is seeking legal advice regarding her dismissal.

Bell Pottinger was forced into administration last week after it was expelled from the UK's Public Relations and Communications Association for contravening its code. This occurred after the Democratic Alliance lodged a complaint against the PR for inciting racial hatred in its PR campaign for the Guptas.

Peter Bruce, editor-in-chief of Business Day and Financial Mail, last year wrote that arms deal fixer Fana Hlongwane introduced Chris Geoghegan - a former board member of BAE systems - to the Guptas, according to the Daily Maverick.

In 2008, the Scorpions, which have since been disbanded, obtained a court order to search local commercial properties linked to BAE after the British Serious Fraud Office discovered evidence of dubious payments the company made, News24 reported in 2016. These included R280m paid to Fana Hlongwane, former defence minister Joe Modise's special adviser during the arms deal.

Source: Fin24

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