The loans to Greensill Capital’s company Sanjeev Gupta which were subsequently sold to Credit Suisse investors were granted on the basis of suspicious invoices which raised suspicions of fraud.
The revelation is likely to put more pressure on Gupta, who was once celebrated by politicians as the ‘savior of steel’ for his rescue of the metallurgy from Wales to Australia, but who is now struggling to maintain its industrial empire rocking afloat.
Greensill collapsed last month, sparking a business and political scandal on lobbying on behalf of the company by former UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Investors in a now suspended $ 10 billion lineup of Credit Suisse funds are prepared for losses on Gupta business loans.
The Financial Times saw a series of invoices that Gupta’s Liberty Commodities trading group provided to Greensill in exchange for cash, including documents claiming to show he was selling products to four European metal companies: KME Germany, RPS Siegen, Voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl and Salzgitter Flachstahl.
All of these companies deny having done business with the Gupta group. “We have nothing to do with Liberty,” said Ulrich Becker, Managing Director of KME Germany. “We haven’t traded with them in the past, we don’t trade with them now, and we won’t trade with them. We are copper producers and don’t even know what we would have bought from them. “
The FT last week revealed that the administrator of Greensill Capital, Grant Thornton, had not been able to verify certain invoices because he had contacted companies listed as debtors of the bankrupt company.
One of the companies, a German scrap company called RPS Siegen, told the FT that it had never negotiated with Gupta. The Steel Tycoon Later says the FT that the company had been “identified as a potential customer” and that financing had been provided on this basis.
However, among the invoices seen by the FT is a Liberty Commodities bill submitted to Greensill, which claimed that Gupta’s trading company had sold nickel to RPS.
Greensill pooled loans made to Gupta into Credit Suisse funds, which list the underlying receivables – or money owed on invoices. Six European metal companies named in Credit Suisse fund accounts – RPS Siegen, Amag Austria, KME Germany, Salzgitter Flachstahl, Voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl and Trimet Aluminum – all confirmed to the FT that they had never traded with Liberty Commodities.
This is the clearest sign to date that there may be false documents at the heart of the Greensill scandal. Swiss bank executives are increasingly concerned that their clients have been victims of fraud, according to people close to their thinking.
Responding to questions about the suspicious invoices, GFG said: “Many of Greensill’s financing arrangements with its customers, including with some of the GFG Alliance companies, were forward-looking debt programs, sometimes described as future receivables. As part of these programs, Greensill has selected and approved companies with which its counterparties could potentially do business in the future. “
GFG declined to comment further on why there were invoices for a business relationship that was only “prospective”.
Suspicions were fueled after the FT revealed Monday that web domains resembling those of various commodity trading houses were registered to the email address of a GFG employee.
Gupta’s GFG Alliance, a conglomerate free from its metallurgical activities, was one of Greensill’s biggest customers which – until its collapse last month – was one of the UK’s hottest fintech companies. United.
Last year, Greensill attempted to raise capital at a valuation of $ 7 billion. Former PM Cameron, an adviser to the group, was once poised to earn tens of millions of dollars from company stock options, which are now worthless.
Greensill was not required to confirm the veracity of the invoices, under the terms of the “accounts receivable” facility with GFG.
Credit Suisse, Greensill and its administrator Grant Thornton all declined to comment.