Police Scotland probed around investigations into Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance

A Tory MSP has demanded transparency around whether Police Scotland are involved in investigations into the operations of companies owned by GFG Alliance in Scotland.

Jamie Halcro-Johnston, the Scottish Conservative’s spokesperson for business, has written to both the Serious Fraud Office and Police Scotland requesting clarity on whether officers in Scotland have been contacted around the ongoing investigation into steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta’s companies.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been investigating GFG Alliance for suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering, including its links with the now-collapsed Greensill Capital, which was the group’s main funder.

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The SFO does not operate in Scotland, but has raided GFG Alliance properties in Scotland during its investigation into the company.

Scottish ministers have more than half a billion pounds linked to the GFG Alliance companies, including a power purchase guarantee that was initially worth £586 million at the Lochaber smelter near Fort William, and a £7m loan via Scottish Enterprise at the Dalzell steelworks in North Lanarkshire.

Mr Halcro-Johnson has written to both Police Scotland and the SFO asking for clarity on the involvement of law enforcement officers in Scotland around the investigation and to confirm whether Police Scotland themselves are investigating the conglomerate.

He said: “We’ve known about the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation since May, but this SNP Government is still being secretive about its dealings with GFG Alliance.

“Given that the SFO’s remit does not extend north of the border, it is important that the public is told whether similar inquiries are being pursued in relation GFG’s operations in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Sanjeev Gupta, the head of the Liberty Group, ahead of a ceremony where Tata Steel handed over the keys of two Lanarkshire steel plants to metals firm Liberty House, at Dalzell steelworks in Scotland.

“So I have written to both the SFO and to Police Scotland to ask whether they have been in contact and if an investigation – either jointly separately – is underway here. The SFO has been open and it’s important that authorities in Scotland are too.

“This SNP Government’s dealings with GFG have provided taxpayer-backed guarantees worth more than half a billion pounds.

"The public should be told whether Scottish ministers have been involved in this investigation – and have clear answers about where these ongoing issues leave the investments that ministers were so happy to welcome as successes.”

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Greensill Capital’s collapse last year sparked serious concerns around the future of the GFG Alliance conglomerate and has forced the company into a major refinancing programme.

Ministers, however, have kept the scale of the existing liability to taxpayers connected to GFG Alliance secret despite repeated requests by MSPs and the media to come clean.

Earlier this month, auditors across several GFG Alliance companies, including the Dalzell steelworks and the Lochaber smelter, resigned, stating they could not complete their audit and were blocked from issuing disclaimers of opinion around a lack of information.

The auditors, King & King, remain under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council around audits for GFG Alliance firms.

However, minister for business Ivan McKee said he was confident the Scottish Government had “seen what we need to see” and said he would make the same deal with Mr Gupta today, despite the ongoing SFO investigation, in order to save jobs.

An SFO spokesperson said, “We have strong working relationships with Scottish law enforcement, with whom we cooperate on a strategic and operational basis”.

Police Scotland was contacted for comment.

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