Top British publicist Max Clifford on Thursday said allegations of sexual abuse against him were "totally untrue" following his arrest by police earlier in the day.
The man best known for helping scandal-hit celebrities was detained as part of a wider investigation into sex offences sparked by allegations that late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was a serial paedophile.
Police later announced they had bailed Clifford until a date later this month, and the publicist gave a brief statement on the steps of Belgravia police station in central London to refute the claims, which he said dated from 1977.
"These allegations are damaging and totally untrue," he said. "On a personal level they are very distressing for myself, my wife, my family and loved ones.
"Anyone who really knew me all those years ago and those who have known me since will have no doubt that I would never act in the way I have today been accused," he added, before being driven away.
Clifford (69) is one of the most influential publicity agents in Britain who has represented everyone from OJ Simpson to Mohamed Al Fayed, working closely with the press to manage, break and stop stories about his clients.
He left school with no qualifications but after a brief stint as a press officer for EMI records in the 1960s, built up his company, Max Clifford Associates, to become one of the most powerful forces in British media.
Clifford becomes the latest in a string of celebrities to be arrested under a Scotland Yard investigation codenamed Operation Yewtree, after former glam rocker and convicted paedophile Gary Glitter, comedian Freddie Starr and radio presenter Dave Lee Travis.
All three have protested their innocence and Travis made clear that the allegations against him, unlike those against Savile, did not concern children.
Police gave no details of the specific allegations against Clifford, saying only that he had been arrested under the strand of their investigation into suspects who had no involvement with Savile.
"Officers working on Operation Yewtree have this morning, Thursday 6 December, arrested a man in his 60s in connection with the investigation," Scotland Yard said in a statement.
"The man from Surrey (near London) was arrested at 07:40 hrs on suspicion of sexual offences and has been taken into a central London police station."
Police launched Operation Yewtree in October after a television documentary alleged that Savile, who died in 2011, was a predatory paedophile.
Savile is now believed to have preyed on as many as 450 victims.
Clifford has a client list that is the envy of publicists around the world and has the power to make or break stars — and the journalists who cover them.
He was behind kiss-and-tell stories by Rebecca Loos, who claimed to have had an affair with footballer David Beckham, although he has always denied it, and Daisy Wright, Jude Law's nanny who had an affair with the actor.
The story behind one of the most famous headlines ever to appear in Rupert Murdoch's daily tabloid The Sun — "Freddie Starr ate my hamster" — was typical of how Clifford promoted his stars.
Clifford told an enquiry into press ethics earlier this year that the tabloid proposed the story and, despite realising that it was rubbish, he said they could go ahead because it would help publicise Starr's upcoming tour.
The publicist gave evidence in part because he was a victim of phone-hacking by the News of the World, the weekly tabloid shut down by Murdoch last year.
Clifford told the enquiry that he reached a settlement with Murdoch's News International worth £660 000 plus a further £300 000 in legal costs, and in return agreed to continue working with the News of the World on stories.