Cameron has admitted mistakes when he breaks Greensill’s silence
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted that he made mistakes in his government’s lobby in front of Greensill Capital because it tried to stay away from the debate over the collapse of the financial group.
In his first public comment on the matter, Cameron said on Sunday that he had reason to lobby Greensill to join the Bank of England’s Covid-19 loan scheme, but admitted wrong Rishi Sunak sending text messages to Chancellor.
“There are important lessons,” he said in a written note. “As a former prime minister, I accept that communications with the government should only be done through the most formal means, so no misinterpretation can be made.”
Cameron also tried to stave off the collapse of the business created by Australian financier Lex Greensill and to divert loans from the GFG metals business run by the group led by Sanjeev Gupta.
Loans from Greensill Capital to Gupta were later sold to Credit Suisse investors made according to invoices the FT explained last week that they had created suspicions of fraud.
“It’s important to understand that I wasn’t on the board of Greensill Capital, nor a member of the risk or credit committees,” Cameron said. “I had no role in the decision to extend the credit, or in the terms of granting that credit, to GFG or any other customers.”
Cameron also distanced himself from the decision to take founder Greensill to the heart of the government while he was prime minister, in charge of providing financing to companies in the government supply chain.
“Lex Greensill brought in former cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood to work for the government in 2011,” Cameron said. “It was not a political nomination, but part of the public service’s drive to improve the effectiveness of government.”
“I actually had little to do with Lex Greensill at this stage – as I recall, I first met him a maximum of twice,” Cameron said. “I never raised the idea of working at Greensill or I thought about it, leaving the post and much earlier.”
Critics of Cameron, including Labor lawmakers, say Greensill abused his position as a former prime minister in an attempt to gain preferential treatment.
Some have suggested that the lobby in favor of the company may have led to the possibility of getting a huge payment of 60 million euros. “My pay was partly in the form of a share transfer,” Cameron said. “Their value was not the number speculated in the press.” These options are now useless.
“I wasn’t the director of the company, and I wasn’t involved in supervising management or the day-to-day running of the business. I was hired to work for the company 25 days a year, ”he said.
He said he had reason to lobby the Treasury, saying Greensill wanted to pass on the funds to small businesses struggling with the Covid crisis and that it seemed appropriate at the time to send messages to the chancellor in the midst of the crisis.
Cameron had previously declined to comment on his role at Greensill Capital, which fell on March 8, despite growing criticism of lobbying activities for the fintech company.
The former prime minister became an adviser to the company in 2018, lobbying Conservative ministers – including Sun – using texts for private mobile numbers.
It was in vain to try to persuade Sunas to accept Greensill into a Covid-19 loan scheme from the Bank of England, but Labor say Cameron’s lobby gave the company special access to ministers and officials.
Greensill was given nine meetings with Charles Roxburgh, the second-oldest senior Treasury official, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, before the company rejected an attempt to merge with the BoE scheme.
Cameron says he did not break any rules. The Register of Consultants, the industry’s watchdog, said the former prime minister was not covered by his rules because he was a Greensille employee and not a third-party lobbyist.