Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alisher Usmanov and Finsbury PR

The recent report on the diamond-fraud row revealed that Alisher Usamov is now using the services of the financial public-relations firm Finsbury Limited.

Perhaps this will work out better than, say, having the law firm Schillings double as his PR team.

(Matt Wardman has a report on their effectiveness in this role here and a recent follow-up here.)

Are Finsbury up to it? Well, that question is only part of the equation, as you'll soon see...

Via the comments over at Craig's site and Sourcewatch comes the following:

2001 - The government is accused of making taxpayers pay twice for spin, when it emerges that Finsbury have been hired to effectively take on the work of special adviser Jo Moore in promoting ministers' rescue plan for Railtrack. Later, questions are asked in the House of Lords relating to the appropriateness of hiring Finsbury to represent Railtrack.

2002 - British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) hire Finsbury for corporate and financial PR support. This appointment coincided with the fallout (sorry) from the return a load of defective nuclear fuel. Finsbury also appears to have been part of the later effort to sell the idea of 'new and safe' nuclear power to the public.

2004 - Roland Rudd's financial PR firm Finsbury is receiving taxpayers' money as part of a lucrative contract with university vice-chancellors to sell the Tony Blair's plans for university top-up fees.

2004 - Shell, already using Finsbury for PR, for some reason take on an additional PR firm to help them deal with the crisis that emerged following their massive overstatement of the amount of natural resources in their reserves.

2006 - Tony Blair's eldest son Euan spent a fortnight at Rudd's company Finsbury on a work experience placement.

(Psst! I threw that last one in for David Icke and his followers. But it's true.)

It would appear to me that Finsbury have a long track record of defending the indefensible, with most notable clients taking them on when they are in the deepest shit imaginable.

The following question was asked under comments over at Craig's weblog:

Is it significant that Finsbury have +accepted+ Usmanov as a client? They have their own reputation to protect too no?
My view is that it is significant, but the primary impact is on Usmanov's reputation; this appointment sends a message to a savvy audience that he is:

a) seeking to defend the indefensible

b) in the deepest shit imaginable


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