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Insolvency Service drops case against ex-Bell Pottinger partners

The government has abandoned an attempt to have three former Bell Pottinger executives disqualified as company directors more than five years after the public relations agency collapsed.

Sky News has learnt that the Insolvency Service has dropped its case against James Henderson, the firm’s one-time chief executive, and partners Victoria Geoghegan and Nick Lambert.

The trio had been facing disqualification proceedings in the wake of Bell Pottinger’s demise in 2017 amid a scandal linked to work it had carried out in South Africa.

Bell Pottinger, co-founded by Lord Bell, a close aide to the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher who died in 2019, was one of London’s most prominent PR consultancies.

The Insolvency Service launched its case against the three executives in September 2020, with all three having subsequently gone on to undertake work in the communications industry.

Mr Henderson told Sky News on Friday: “I am pleased and relieved that almost five years on I can now put this sad situation behind me.”

In a joint statement, Ms Geoghegan and Mr Lambert said: “We are pleased that, after many years, the case has been dropped.

“It was always obviously and fundamentally flawed.”

The Insolvency Service is now likely to face questions about why it pursued its case against the trio.

It has been contacted for comment.