Sanjeev Gupta, whose company GFG Alliance is under the cloud of a fraud and money-laundering investigation, returned to the UK two-and-a-half-years since the probe began.
(Bloomberg) — Sanjeev Gupta, whose company GFG Alliance is under the cloud of a fraud and money-laundering investigation, returned to the UK two-and-a-half-years since the probe began.
Gupta, who now lives in Dubai, has traveled to the UK to visit a sick relative as well as for business meetings, according to people familiar with the matter. The Serious Fraud Office is likely to interview the steel tycoon at a time when he is in the country, said one of the people. They asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The SFO is investigating suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the financing and conduct of companies within Gupta’s loose network of businesses. The group has also been under investigation in France over allegations of money laundering and corporate misuse of assets.
Any move to interview would be an escalation of the probe, nearly 18 months after the SFO sent investigators to GFG’s offices to demand company balance sheets, annual reports and correspondence related to the case.
The son of an Indian industrialist, Gupta moved to the UK when he was a teenager, and started a commodity-trading business, Liberty House, while studying at Cambridge University. He built up a sprawling web of businesses during a mid-2010s spree buying up distressed metals plants, which earned him the nickname of the “savior of steel” in the British press.
Prosecutors rounded on GFG after the collapse of its main lender Greensill Capital in March 2021 revealed that it had been borrowing money against expected future invoices, for sales that were merely predicted.
The probes followed revelations surrounding the tycoon’s trading business Liberty House Group. Four banks stopped working with the company, starting in 2016, after they became concerned about what they perceived to be problems in paperwork provided by Liberty, Bloomberg News reported.
Read More: As Gupta Rose From Trader to Tycoon, Several Banks Backed Away
Greensill was Gupta’s largest source of financing before its collapse. The London-based lender supplied billions of dollars in loans to GFG, many of which were packaged and sold onto investors in funds run by Credit Suisse Group AG. Greensill fell into administration after a key insurance partner didn’t renew coverage on loans made to some of its customers.
GFG previously said that it would fully cooperate with the investigation. In an internal memo sent to staff after the office raids last year seen by Bloomberg, an executive said “we have consistently rejected any wrongdoing on our part.”
The SFO doesn’t comment on its ongoing investigations.
–With assistance from Eddie Spence.
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