A PUBLIC relations firm set up by a close friend of former British business secretary Peter Mandelson was hired by Muammar Gaddafi to whitewash his tyrannical regime and win acceptance for Libya in the West.
Brown Lloyd James promoted the dictator as a "fascinating contemporary world figure" and his son Saif as a human rights champion. Lord Mandelson, who also knows Saif, has stayed at the Caribbean holiday home of Peter Brown, one of the company's founding partners.
Work carried out by the PR firm, which has offices in London, New York and Tripoli, included:
Reputational management for Saif, highlighting his role in freeing Western hostages and alleviating poverty in Africa;
Promoting a live video address by Colonel Gaddafi to the London School of Economics last December in which he hailed former British prime minister Tony Blair as a friend;
Advising the Libyan ruler before his inaugural address to the UN, 40 years after he came to power.
Mandelson has defended his links with Libya in the Financial Times