What is it about the British upper classes that they think they can still run roughshod over nation states? That's precisely what Bell Pottinger — until recently the apparently untouchable purveyor of whatever truth its clients preferred — thought it could do in South Africa when it signed up the Gupta business Oakbay. This week, the 30-year-old company put itself up for sale. It appeared on the front page of the venerable Financial Times for three days running after it was booted out of the professional association that ensures the self-regulation of more than 20000 UK PR firms. It also found itself abandoned by one of its anchor shareholders, and a growing number of clients headed for the exit. BDO, the accounting firm hired to find a buyer, had better be quick. Soon there will be little of value left. The firm's second-biggest shareholder, Chime, wrote off its 27% stake rather than face the embarrassment of trying to flog it on the open market.Added to the list of South African c...

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