UK opens fraud probe into Greensill-linked steelmaker

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office on Friday launched a probe into steelmaker GFG Alliance, focusing partly on links with its collapsed financier Greensill.

GFG Alliance, owned by Indian-British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, had been Greensill’s biggest customer at the time of the finance giant’s notorious collapse in March.

“The SFO is investigating suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the financing and conduct… of companies within the Gupta Family Group Alliance, including its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital UK Ltd,” it said in a brief statement.

The SFO added that it would be making no further comment because the matter is now a live investigation.

The Grensill affair shone a light on Gupta’s own criticised business practices, with the UK government describing the GFG structure as “very opaque” after declining to rescue it. 

Greensill itself specialised in short-term corporate loans via a complex and opaque business model that ultimately sparked its declaration of insolvency last month.

GFG has operations in more than 35 countries across the world, and annual global revenues of about $20 billion according to its website.

The group has 35,000 staff worldwide, including 5,000 in Britain where its Liberty Steel division is based.

Friday’s news came one day after Britain’s former prime minister David Cameron insisted he acted appropriately in controversial lobbying for Greensill.

It came as British lawmakers quizzed him following months of scandal and revelation about his lobbying ahead of the company’s collapse.