Mr Greensill Accused of Disrespect over Refusal to Attend Inquiry
The Guardian reported that U’s MPs have accused financier Mr Lex Greensill of acting suspiciously and being disrespectful towards parliament by refusing to appear in front of an inquiry into the steel industry and one of Greensill Capital largest borrowers, Liberty Steel. The Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy committee claimed Mr Greensill had failed to give legitimate reasons for rebuffing multiple requests to answer live questions in front of parliamentarians at the end of the month. The committee has insisted that he is required to attend, regardless of his concerns that he would not be able to speak about Liberty Steel and would be barred from divulging information that could compromise a Serious Fraud Office investigation into Liberty’s parent company, GFG Alliance, owned by billionaire steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta. BEIS committee’s chairman and Labour MP Mr Darren Jones said in a letter to Mr Greensill “You will appreciate the significant public and parliamentary interest in this matter, and why the committee’s legitimate desire to hear from you is important. Failure to appear before parliament is disrespectful not just to parliament but, by extension, to the British people.”
Mr Jones wrote “Given the Treasury’s exposure to government backed loans, via Greensill Capital to GFG Alliance companies, it’s important that the committee hears from Lex Greensill. There are broad questions that need to be answered about audit, corporate governance and due diligence at Greensill, as well as its communications with the British Business Bank. It is therefore suspicious that Lex Greensill is refusing to engage constructively with our inquiry or even outline legitimate reasons for failing to do so. If Lex Greensill maintains confidence in his actions and that of his company, then he should want to appear before the Committee to put his position on the public record. I urge him to think again.”
The committee has given Greensill until the end of Thursday to respond to requests to appear in front of the committee on 29 June, or the next convenient date.
However, in a response seen by the Guardian, Mr Greensill assured MPs that he meant no disrespect to parliament and had already appeared in front of the Treasury committee last month. He also repeated concerns that there are no way to ensure he did not prejudice the SFO inquiry while giving evidence live to MPs. Mr Greensill said in his letter “I would be happy to consider any written questions that the committee may have for me and will endeavour to respond in writing to the extent that it is appropriate for me to do so.”
Greensill Capital was one of GFG Alliance’s largest lenders, offering advances on invoices that have not yet been paid by its suppliers. Greensill is reportedly have loaned the company as much as GBP 3.6 billion by the time the lender collapsed in March this year.
The British Business Bank is currently investigating the GBP 400 million worth of government-backed emergency Covid loans that Greensill reportedly extended to GFG firms during the pandemic. The SFO is also investigating GFG and its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital, over suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering.