Sanjeev Gupta thanked the Tory minister Nadhim Zahawi for his “personally instrumental” role in enabling Greensill Capital to make taxpayer-backed Covid business support loans, in a letter released by the UK government, The Guardian reported.
Greensill collapsed last year, sparking a lobbying scandal involving the former UK prime minister David Cameron and a Serious Fraud Office investigation into more than 300 million pounds of loans to businesses linked to GFG Alliance, the metals conglomerate run by Gupta, under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the report said.
It has emerged that in October 2020, Gupta sent a letter to Zahawi, then a minister in the UK business department (BEIS), thanking him for getting the bank to approve Greensill’s access to the loan scheme.
“Since you were personally instrumental in getting the BBB’s approval for Greensill Capital to provide financial assistance under the CLBILS programme, it would be very fitting if you could join us to mark this special moment that provides relief to thousands of workers,” said Gupta in the letter, released after a freedom of information request lodged by the Financial Times.
In the letter, Gupta went as far as inviting Zahawi, who was promoted to education secretary in the autumn, to a “small gathering” at his steelworks in Rotherham to mark the Greensill loan success, the report said.
The letter was sent days before a formal investigation into Greensill and the loans to GFG-linked firms was launched.
“The department does not recognise the assertion made in Mr Gupta’s letter that Nadhim Zahawi played a role in securing the bank’s approval to accredit Greensill Capital,” said BEIS. GFG declined to comment.
BEIS stated that Zahawi “did not respond to the letter, nor did he make any subsequent visit to a GFG Alliance site”.