The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) visited the workplaces of Sanjeev Gupta’s firm Liberty Steel on Wednesday.
The SFO stated groups went to the agency’s workplaces to request paperwork together with steadiness sheets, annual reviews and correspondence associated to an investigation. A number of firm websites have been visited throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
A spokeswoman for the SFO stated: “Investigators spoke to executives at multiple addresses, who co-operated with the operation. As the investigation is ongoing, the SFO can provide no further comment.”
The transfer is an escalation of the SFO’s inquiry, launched in Could final yr, into suspected fraud, fraudulent buying and selling and cash laundering by the Liberty Steel’s guardian firm GFG Alliance. It follows raids by French police on the GFG Alliance headquarters in Paris.
Prison investigators with the French Nationwide Police individually inspected the workplaces of Aluminium Dunkerque within the northern French city of Loon-Web page. GFG Alliance stated final evening that it was “co-operating fully” with the investigation.
GFG owns a group of companies in power, metal and buying and selling, using about 35,000 folks.
Mr Gupta, its government chairman, was as soon as lauded because the “saviour of steel” for rescuing beleaguered factories. He has come underneath rising scrutiny following accusations of probably fraudulent buying and selling after his fundamental lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed a yr in the past.
GFG used so-called provide chain finance companies provided by Greensill. The lender, which as soon as employed former prime minister David Cameron as an adviser, collapsed in March 2021 after GFG defaulted on $5bn of debt.
This meant that if GFG bought a product to a unique firm, it might ship the bill to Greensill and be paid immediately, quite than having to attend probably months for the client to pay its payments.
Entry to cash could be helpful for corporations with tight money flows.
Nevertheless, how Greensill and GFG did enterprise collectively is being examined by the fraud investigators.
Monetary regulators are additionally investigating Wyelands Financial institution, a British lender owned by Mr Gupta, which bought into difficulties after making a sequence of dangerous loans to corporations linked to companies operated by him.
MPs have beforehand raised a sequence of issues about Mr Gupta’s management of GFG Alliance, together with the weird funding and firm buildings, in addition to a sequence of accounting “red flags”.
Mr Gupta’s fundamental UK property are varied Liberty Steel vegetation, together with in South Yorkshire, Wales and the Midlands, in addition to an aluminium smelter in Scotland.