Cameron defends the lobby against ministers for Greensill Capital
David Cameron has He defended on behalf of Greensill Capital the lobby against UK ministers and officials, emphasizing that instead of preserving the value of its stock options in the company, it was to benefit the economy.
The former prime minister, giving his first public comments about Greensill since the fall of March, declined to say how much money he was earning from the supply chain finance company before joining the administration.
Industry data told the Financial Times that Cameron owned shares close to 1 percent of Greensill’s value. The company was valued at $ 7 billion at one time.
But Cameron told the House of Commons Treasury Committee that Greensill’s horrific potential suggestions for him are “completely absurd.” He declined to say what the actual figure was, but said he had stock options and was paid “much more than he earned as prime minister.”
He added that he had “a huge economic investment in the future of Greensill.”
After three months of talks, the Treasury decided in mid-2020 that it was not interested in Cameron’s proposals.
Conservative chairman of the Finance Committee Mel Stride said Cameron may have been motivated to “scare” contacts in the early 2020s of the coronavirus crisis because he was “aware of the possibility of earning a large amount of money”. he was under threat ”.
The former prime minister said: “The motivation to contact the government was a very good idea for us to extend credit to businesses.”
Strid asked if Cameron needed to know when Greensill was in trouble when concerns about the company arose, including May 2020 Financial Times Report.
But Cameron said he did not realize the company had serious difficulties until December 2020. “I didn’t believe it in March or April. . . Greensill was in danger of falling. “
Angela Eagle, a Labor committee member, said some of Cameron’s messages to ministers and officials seemed “more like harassment than lobbying”.
But Cameron defended his lobbying, saying Treasury officials did not consider it “inappropriate” for the “heart attack” that occurred in the UK at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reason for its “sustainability” was that a financial technology company like Greensill “didn’t understand most people well,” he added.
Cameron confirmed that he attended Greensill’s board of directors on a regular basis, despite not being the company’s director, nor in the day-to-day running of the business.
“I would attend council meetings, listen to arguments, make contributions, especially on geopolitical issues,” he told lawmakers. “I was not involved on the credit committee, the risk committee or the audit committee.”
Cameron also tried to gain clients in Greensill and helped build relationships with important clients.
The road to the fall of Greensill began in September 2020 when Tokyo Marine, its main insurer, announced that it was withdrawing coverage within six months.
Cameron said he was unaware of the move, even though he attended board meetings and listened to the company’s internal podcast.
The former prime minister accepted that Greensill had excessive “customer concentration” with GFG, A metal group led by Sanjeev Gupta Industrial.
He also said that reading An is “very disturbing” FT report The companies listed in the Gupta loan documents refused to do business with GFG.
But Cameron defended Greensill’s practices. “Going into business with the administration doesn’t mean that everything about it was wrong,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it’s all been a huge scam.”
Cameron said he has written rules for publicizing any meeting between ministers and lobbyists as prime minister, but not about text and phone calls.
In an initial statement to the commission, Cameron said he had not violated the rules, but admitted that “the prime minister is in a different category” in terms of conduct after leaving office.
That said, he made the mistake of lobbying ministers and officials instead of writing a formal letter via text message, he said.
Cameron said it is “very disappointing” to work for a company that has gone bankrupt.
He later told the Commons Public Accounts Committee that it was former Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood who introduced Greensill to Whitehall in 2011 to advise the government on finance for the supply chain – which led to a pharmacy loan program.
Prior to 2016, Lex Greensill, the company’s founder, said he had only met twice and had no role when Greensill Capital was awarded a pharmaceutical contract in 2018. “It’s like that because I benefited from arranging your wedding six years ago. I married your ex-partner six years later.”