David Cameron insisted on lobbying UK ministers and officials on behalf of Greensil Capital, saying the company was intended to benefit the economy without preserving the alternative value of its shares.
The former prime minister, speaking publicly for the first time since the fall of Greensil in March, declined to say how much money he was on track to make from supply chain finance companies before leaving the administration.
Industry figures told the Financial Times that Cameron has shares close to one per cent of Greensil’s value. The company was valued at পর্যায়ে 7 billion at one stage.
Cameron, however, told the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee that the potential m 60 million windfall recommendations from Greensil were “completely unreasonable” for him. He declined to say what the real picture was but said he had the option to share and that he was “given as generous money, much more than I achieved as prime minister”.
He added that he had a large economic investment in the future of Greensil.
Cameron lobbied a number of ministers and civil servants, including Treasury officials, in an effort to secure Greensil’s access. Two Covid Debt Projects run by the government.
After three months of negotiations, the Treasury decided in mid-2020 that it was not interested in Cameron’s proposals.
Mel Stride, the Conservative chair of the Treasury Committee, said Cameron could be motivated to take “this barrier” to communications at the start of the coronavirus crisis in the spring of 2020 because he realized his “huge monetary opportunity” was under threat.
The former prime minister said: “My motivation for communicating with the government was to have a really good idea to grow our business.”
Stride asked in a May 2020 report in the Financial Times whether Cameron should have known about Greensil while lighting the warning light about the firm.
But Cameron said he did not realize the company was in serious trouble until December 2020. “I do not believe in March or April. . . There was a risk of falling above Greensil.
Angela Le Gaul, a labor member of the committee, told Cameron some of her messages to ministers and officials were “more like shaking than lobbying.”
But Cameron defended his plea, saying Treasury officials did not consider it “inappropriate” because of the “economic heart attack” in the UK at the start of the Kozid-19 epidemic.
The reason for his “perseverance” is that financial technology companies like Greensil are “not well understood” by most people, he added.
Cameron has confirmed that he does not regularly attend Greensil board meetings even though he is not a director of the company and does not participate in day-to-day business.
“I will attend board meetings, listen to arguments, contribute, especially on geopolitical issues,” he told lawmakers. “I did not sit on the credit committee, the risk committee or the audit committee.”
Cameron also tried to win new clients for Greensil and helped with relationships with older clients
Greensil’s path to collapse began in September 2020 when its main insurer, the Tokyo Marine, announced that it was withdrawing cover within six months.
Cameron said he was not aware of the move even after attending board meetings and listening to the company’s internal podcasts.
The former prime minister has admitted that there was excessive “client density” with GFG, a metal group run by Greensil industrialist Sanjeev Gupta.
He added that it was “too much trouble” to read FT report The companies listed in the secret loan documents have denied doing business with GFG.
But Cameron defended Greensile’s practice. “Just because you went into business administration doesn’t mean that everything about it was wrong,” he said. “That doesn’t mean the whole thing was some huge fraud.”
Cameron said that as prime minister he had made rules requiring the disclosure of any meeting between ministers and lobbyists.
Commenting on the committee, Cameron said he had not violated the rules but acknowledged that the prime minister was “in a different category” in terms of their conduct after leaving power.
He made the mistake of lobbying ministers and officials in text messages rather than writing such an official letter, he said.
Cameron said it was “extremely frustrating” to work for a failed company.