Investigators target UK offices of Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty Steel

Investigators target UK offices of Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel after Serious Fraud Office launched money laundering probe into parent firm GFG Alliance’s links with Greensill

  • Mr Gupta’s Liberty Steel offices were targeted after money laundering probe
  • Mr Gupta, the firm’s executive chairman, was once lauded as ‘saviour of steel’
  • He is under scrutiny amid accusations of potentially fraudulent trading after his main lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed

The offices of Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel have been targeted by the Serious Fraud Office after it launched a money laundering probe into its parent firm GFG Alliance’s links with Greensill. 

It comes almost a year after the SFO launched its investigation into GFG Alliance, which has thousands of staff in the UK. It owns several businesses in energy, steel and trading, employing about 35,000 workers.

Mr Gupta, its executive chairman, was once lauded as the ‘saviour of steel’ for rescuing factories, but has come under heavy scrutiny amid accusations of potentially fraudulent trading after his main lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed a year ago. 

Grensill went under after its insurer refused to renew cover for the loans it was making. 

Sanjeev Gupta was once lauded as the ‘saviour of steel’ for rescuing factories, but has come under heavy scrutiny amid accusations of potentially fraudulent trading after his main lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed

GFG used so-called supply chain finance services offered by Greensill. This meant that if GFG sold a product to a different company, it could send the invoice to Greensill and be paid right away, rather than having to wait potentially months for the customer to pay its bills.

Bringing in money this way can be useful for companies with tight cash flows.

However, how Greensill and GFG did business together is being investigated by the fraud investigators.

It comes after French police raided the Paris offices of GFG Alliance on Wednesday in its own probe of the tycoon’s business empire.

The SFO confirmed that its teams spoke with executives at offices across Britain, who co-operated with the operation.

In a letter seen by the BBC, Liberty Steel staff were told today: ‘Since then we have consistently rejected any wrongdoing on our part and pledged to co-operate fully to ensure they can conclude their investigations as quickly as possible.’

Grensill went under after its insurer refused to renew cover for the loans it was making

The firm also described the site visits today as ‘expected’.

‘Please rest assured that this does not impact the operation of our companies and we must continue to focus on our business plans and operating safely,’ its chief transformation officer, Jeff Kabel, wrote.

British MPs have previously raised a series of concerns over Sanjeev Gupta’s leadership of GFG Alliance, including the unusual funding and company structures, as well as a series of accounting ‘red flags’.

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