Serious Fraud Office ‘steps up’ Liberty Steel investigation


The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has said it has stepped up its investigation into Sanjeev Gupta’s Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG) which owns Liberty Steel following the £100m purchase of assets in 2017 from Tata Steel .

Sanjeev Gupta

Investigators issued notices under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 and attended addresses across the England, Scotland and Wales linked to GFG Alliance,  to request documents including company balance sheets, annual reports and correspondence related to the SFO’s investigation which started in May last year into “suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering”.

A spokesperson for the SFO noted its investigators spoke with executives at multiple addresses who co-operated with the operation, and added: “As the investigation is ongoing, the SFO can provide no further comment”.

Liberty Steel which has operations across the country including Rotherham, Stocksbridge, Scunthorpe, West Bromwich and Kidderminster earlier this month Liberty Steel confirmed it would be cutting 207 jobs, as the business looked to restructure and recover from a turbulent period that started with the collapse of  its key lender Greensill Capital.

The update comes days after the Financial Times reported that French police raided Gupta’s Paris offices and metalworks – Aluminium Dunkerque – it formerly owned as the French prosecutors looked to escalate their probe into his business dealings.

Sky News and the BBC reported that an internal memo to GFG staff on Wednesday said: “We will comply with the information request orders and will continue to cooperate fully in all manners.

“We have in place very strict information and document preservation policies which we implemented prior to the SFO announcement….We appreciate these enquiries can be disruptive and concerning for employees and stakeholders.

“However, we are encouraged that the investigation is now progressing and is moving closer to a conclusion.”

The company’s chief transformation officer Jeff Kabel added: “Rest assured that this does not impact the operation of our companies and we must continue to focus on our business plans and operating safely”.

GFG has continuously denied all wrongdoing, but the investigation is just one of the challenges which has faced Gupta’s business empire over the last 12 months.

The updates to the SFO and French investigation are just the latest development in the Liberty Steel story which has seen the government reject of a request from GFG to approve an emergency £170m bailout, MP’s call for investigations  to stave off another crisis in the industry in November and reports in February warning up to 2,000 jobs were at risk when a winding up petition has been issued against Speciality Steel UK a division of Liberty Steel, before the petition was withdrawn last month by HMRC.


Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...