The Ongoing Travails of Sanjeev Gupta

Posted on May 25, 2021. by NTI

Andrew Bailey (who works at the Bank of England) had a big day yesterday (Monday 24 May). When he wasn't making us all feel much better about inflation (which usually peaks at 47th in the average person's 'List of Concerns'), saying that it will rise above 'the magic two per cent number' before falling back to a number most of us don't really compute, he was chatting about Dave Cameron, whose star has fallen so rapidly it has left a dying light-streak in the sky. Mr Bailey insisted before MPs that the impressive lobbying of our former prime minister did not lead to Greensill Bank receiving favourable treatment.

We heard that Dave had sent in excess of 50 text messages and emails to ministers in a bid to get Greensill involved in the Government's Covid Corporate Financing Facility, to little avail. When Tracee of the NTI newsroom heard this she theatrically harrumphed, as her PB is 63 Instagram messages, 14 Tik Tok posts, a video blog and two updates to her Dubsmash profile in a chaotic 46 minutes, when Richard left the office to move his car away from two burning wheelie bins earlier this month.

Mr Bailey told the Treasury Select Committee that he and his colleagues at the Bank "never felt any pressure", despite a concerned Laura Kuenssberg and an exasperating Robert Peston suggesting the opposite on their respective newsbeats. Tell you who is feeling pressure, though;the 2,000 folk who work for Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty Steel and their speciality businesses in Yorkshire and the West Midlands. Mr Gupta has put large parts of his UK empire up for sale in a laudable attempt to save thousands of jobs and settle debts of $1.2 billion with Credit Suisse.

Our man in the Government, Kwasi Kwateng, is monitoring matters carefully, and has to uncomfortably choose between concern for the engineering sector of Liberty's business and ongoing worries about the steel-producing electric arc furnaces at Rotherham, which would probably be the main 'PR win'. The disposals are being overseen by Alvarez & Marsal. GFG said that meetings between its “restructuring and transformation committee”, which is headed by Jeff Kabel, a former JP Morgan banker who is 'chair emeritus' of the International Steel Trade Association, and Credit Suisse Asset Management had been “very constructive”.

You may recall, from a couple of nifty Pulitzer-nominated bulletins on this very site, that the Serious Fraud Office has had Mr Gupta on speed-dial for a month or so, as they investigate his CFG Alliance group of businesses. Yesterday Mr Bailey's bus was carefully driven over Sanjeev when the former revealed to the Treasury Select Committee that 'fresh questions' will be raised about how Gupta was able to secure eight £46 million taxpayer-backed loans, despite suspicions that his group may have been engaged in fraud. GFG had applied for eight £50 million loans.

For those of us who worry about our Visa bill and whether we have turned the toaster off, we wonder how men like Sanjeev Gupta get a decent night's sleep. If his life were a Netflix series and we were watching episode six of eight we know, surely, how this all must end ...

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