Euro RSCG clarifies role in Ukraine clinic's PR efforts

VIENNA: Euro RSCG has become a part of the unfolding scandal surrounding the poisoning of the now-victorious Ukrainian presidential challenger, Viktor Yushchenko.

VIENNA: Euro RSCG has become a part of the unfolding scandal surrounding the poisoning of the now-victorious Ukrainian presidential challenger, Viktor Yushchenko.

On December 17, the Financial Times reported that a Euro RSCG team had arranged a press conference at a Vienna clinic to refute claims that Yushchenko had been poisoned. But shortly after, the same clinic's tests confirmed that he had in fact been poisoned with dioxin, a potentially lethal chemical.

Furthermore, Yffic Nouvellon, who led the Euro RSCG PR team, had previously done work for Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of outgoing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who opposes Yushchenko's bid.

The clinic's president later said that he never would have hired the agency had he known of the connection, calling Euro RSCG "clearly biased to one side" of Ukrainian politics.

The FT article also claimed that Nouvellon was specifically questioned about his ties to Pinchuk and that he lied, saying he did not know him.

Since the FT article was published, the firm has neither issued a press release nor returned calls seeking comment. But via e-mail, Owen Dougherty, Euro RSCG's New York-based chief communications officer, told PRWeek, "We worked for the clinic in Vienna where Mr. Yushchenko had his exams and organized a press conference for the clinic, [but] the content of the press conference was controlled by the client. We have no connections to either candidate."

When asked to clarify his statement, and whether Nouvellon had lied about his work with Pinchuk, Dougherty said, "All that FT speculation is just that."

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