Investigation launched into Gupta accountants

King and King will be investigated for its role as auditors in signing off accounts for four Liberty Steel businesses over the past three years.

04 May 2022

An investigation has been launched into the accountancy firm responsible for signing off the accounts for a range of steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s business empire.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which regulates the accounting industry, said it would be investigating accounts signed off by King and King for four Liberty Steel businesses.

Offices of Liberty Steel faced visits from Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigators last week as part of a probe into suspected fraud and money laundering by parent firm GFG Alliance.

Sanjeev Gupta with Prince Charles
Sanjeev Gupta has been hailed as the saviour of the UK steel industry (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

The FRC said it would be combing through accounts relating to Liberty Speciality Steels Limited, Alvance British Aluminium Limited (formerly Liberty Aluminium Lochaber Ltd) and Liberty Steel Newport Limited for the year ended March 31 2019.

It will also look at Liberty Performance Steels Limited statements for the year ended March 31 2020.

Mr Gupta was once lauded as the “saviour of steel” for rescuing factories, but has come under heavy scrutiny amid accusations of potentially fraudulent trading after his main lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed a year ago.

GFG used so-called supply chain finance services offered by Greensill.

This meant that if GFG sold a product to a different company, it could send the invoice to Greensill and be paid right away, rather than having to wait potentially months for the customer to pay its bills.

Bringing in money this way can be useful for companies with tight cash flows.

However, how Greensill and GFG did business together is being investigated by the fraud investigators.

It comes after French police visited the Paris offices of GFG Alliance on Wednesday in its own probe of the tycoon’s business empire.

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