Call for SNP statement after SFO targets Gupta offices
Scottish Labour has demanded an urgent statement from government ministers after addresses north of the border were among those attended by Serious Fraud Office investigators in connection with the industrialist Sanjeev Gupta.
The SFO team seized documents and questioned executives at a number of offices around the UK owned by the steel tycoon following legal issues surrounding his GFG Alliance metals and energy group..
The SFO revealed its investigation in May 2021, shortly after the collapse of GFG’s main financial backer, Greensill Capital.
Mr Gupta’s main UK assets steel plants under the Liberty Steel banner, including large operations at Rotherham and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire and smaller facilities in Wales and the Midlands, as well as an aluminium smelter in Scotland which was offered guarantees by the Scottish government.
The SFO’s action follows a raid last week by French prosecutors, who said they are investigating allegations of “misuse of corporate assets” and “money laundering”.
Today the SFO said: “On Wednesday 27 April, teams of SFO investigators across the UK issued notices under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 at addresses linked with Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, also known as the Liberty House Group of companies.
“Teams attended trading addresses earlier this morning, issuing section 2 notices to request documents including company balance sheets, annual reports and correspondence related to the SFO’s investigation.
“Investigators spoke to executives at multiple addresses, who cooperated with the operation. As the investigation is ongoing, the SFO can provide no further comment.”
Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “ This is an incredibly serious development and Scottish ministers should be following this closely.
“We need ministers to urgently deliver a statement to the parliament to inform the chamber of any further financial damage that the government’s deal with Liberty Steel may cause to the public purse.
“The SNP’s dodgy deal with Liberty Steel has already exposed the public purse to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.
“The time has come for the SNP government to come clean over their dealings and set out what ramifications this development may have for the people of Scotland.”