Public relations boss Lord Chadlington today hit out at suggestions that his firm Huntsworth is an "apologist" for Belarus after it opened an office in the authoritarian former Soviet state.
Huntsworth's subsidiary, Grayling, says its operation in the country's capital, Minsk, is only helping international clients looking at investment opportunities.
Chadlington said: "We assist British companies to establish their commercial relations - as we do in China. No-one seems to criticise us for working in China."
He pointed out that Grayling operates across Europe, with offices in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia as well as Belarus.
"In none of these countries do we act as an apologist for these countries."
Opponents of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, including leading British arts figures such as playwright Sir Tom Stoppard and actor Jude Law, have targeted Grayling because of its presence.
Stoppard and Law are set to join a protest, organised by Almeida Theatre artistic director Michael Attenborough and Young Vic director David Lan, next Monday.
The Free Theatre of Belarus demonstration is due to start at Grayling's HQ in Victoria, before marching to the House of Commons.
Chadlington, a Tory donor, was at pains to stress Grayling is not heavily involved in Belarus, saying it operates only an "associate" office in Minsk.
"We have done no work in Belarus at all as of this moment," he said.
The Huntsworth boss added that his firm had strong ethical values, citing the fact it has never worked for any foreign government and refuses commissions from tobacco firms.
Meanwhile, Huntsworth has signed a three-year deal with British Airways to act in 38 countries from April 1.
Huntsworth is forecasting a 7% jump in like-for-like revenues this year. Operating profits rose 17% last year as the firm posted a pre-tax profit of ?21.8 million.
It has also bought digital PR agency Atomic for up to $50 million (?30.7 million) if it hits targets.
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