Liberty Steel UK CFO Grilled in UK Parliament’s Committee Hearing
City AM reported that Liberty Steel’s UK Chief Financial Officer Mr Anton Krull, in an awkward appearance before UK Parliament’s Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, after failing to answer a number of questions, confirmed that he was the firm’s chief financial officer and that some of Liberty Steel’s assets were facing challenges. Mr Krull told “His role was to assist the businesses to produce strategic business plans and forecasts, and that issues such as company debt were controlled centrally by executives closer to Gupta. I am the CFO, but that doesn’t extend to the balance sheet in terms of the capital structure. His remit did not extend to the balance sheet in terms of the capital structure. I would say probably the larger businesses are challenged, and some of the smaller businesses are operating reasonably profitably.”
He also admitted to not having had dealings with King & King, a firm of chartered accountants who have audited many of Mr Sanjeev Gupta’s firms. He told “I haven’t met King & King, I haven’t dealt with them. Others at GFG deal with the auditors.”
Asked if before joining Liberty Steel he thought that King & King might not have the capacity to carry out the audit for a billion-dollar enterprise, Mr Krull said “It did occur to me.”
He added “I think going forward my own view is that it’s critical that there’s a consolidated view of Liberty Steel UK that’s presented, and made clear and is credible, and certainly, I think it’s appropriate always for rotation of audit firms to occur.”
A Tory MP on the committee Mr Richard Fuller said “It is totally unacceptable when so many issues around the viability of the business relate to financial matters at GFG that they sent people who were patently incapable, for good reasons, of answering even the most basic questions.”
Mr Darren Jones, the Labour MP who heads the committee, said he was concerned that it is unclear who in Liberty Steel was responsible for asserting that each individual business was a viable going concern.