(LONDON) JUST IN: The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced it is investigating SA Whyalla Steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta’s company, Gupta Family Group (GFG) Alliance #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.16: Greensill, owned by Australian businessman Lex Greensill, was a major lender to Mr Gupta’s business and collapsed last month:

UK fraud agency investigating Whyalla Steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta over Greensill dealings: ‘The office says it will look into suspected fraudulent trading and money laundering, including financial arrangements with failed company Greensill Capital’ and said it would not provide any further comment on its probe as it is an ongoing matter’

Posted 1d ago

Sanjeev Gupta smiles.
Sanjeev Gupta’s companies employ thousands of workers around the world, including in Australia.(ABC News: Nick Harmsen)

Mr Gupta’s companies were among the main clients of Greensill before its collapse in March and their reliance on Greensill stoked concerns over their financial health when it went under.

Gupta’s Liberty Steel, which employs thousands of people around the world, including in Australia, has sought a bailout from the UK government in the wake of Greensill’s collapse.

Steel
Sanjeev Gupta with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall (right) in Whyalla in 2018.(Twitter: Steven Marshall)

A GFG Alliance spokesperson said the company would “cooperate fully with the investigation”.

“GFG Alliance continues to serve its customers around the world and is making progress in the refinancing of its operations which are benefiting from the operational improvements it has made and the very strong steel, aluminium and iron ore markets,” the spokesperson said.

The relationship between Mr Gupta’s companies and Greensill has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks.

Former British prime minister David Cameron, who acted as an adviser to Greensill that involved him lobbying his contacts in government and in the civil service, has been caught up in the fallout of the firm’s bankruptcy.

On Thursday, Mr Cameron testified before politicians on his activities for Greensill, which he insisted was motivated by a desire to help support British workers and businesses “in the economic turmoil caused by COVID” and not financial gain from his Greensill shares.

Opposition parties are calling for tougher rules on contacts between business representatives and government officials, saying Britain’s laxly enforced lobbying regulations leave the door open to corruption.

The Financial Conduct Authority, Britain’s financial regulatory body, has already announced a formal investigation into Greensill’s collapse after receiving allegations that it said were “potentially criminal in nature.”

Whyalla is ‘battle-hardened’ and won’t stop steel production, local MP

A wide shot of the Whyalla Steelworks
Local state MP Eddie Hughes says Whyalla will prosper regardless of how the investigation proceeds.(ABC News: Matt Coleman)

Eddie Hughes, the South Australian member for Giles, which encompasses Whyalla, said the community and the steel industry in the area would “get through this”.

“It’s concerning but obviously that’s got a long way to go,” he said of the SFO’s announcement.

“The thing that Australia should never lose sight of is that Australia can produce steel.

“We’ve got hundreds of millions of tonnes of magnetite on the doorstep here in Whyalla; we can make steel for generations to come, we can make money for generations to come, we can provide jobs for generations to come.

“Whether it’s going to be Gupta, whether it’s going to be someone else, whether we even look at an interim nationalisation as the British conservatives are, we will have a future here in Whyalla.

“Obviously it’s not positive news, but we are a battle-hardened community here in Whyalla, we’ve been through a lot and we’ll get through this.”

He said he thought Mr Gupta’s “dealings here in Australia have been far less complicated” than those in the UK and said he was eager to see the outcome of the probe.

AP/ABC

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: May.16: 2021:

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