The Bankruptcy Service has written to Lex Greensill and other former directors of the supply chain finance group that bore his name as it intensifies an investigation that could trigger a formal proceeding to disqualify them as company directors.
Sky News has learned that the unit which investigates company failures in the UK has put a series of questions to Mr Greensill, the founder of Greensill Capital, and former colleagues in recent days.
However, this procedural step underscores the fact that the Bankruptcy Service’s investigation into the conduct of the directors prior to Greensill’s collapse is now at a detailed stage.
Under the Company Director Disqualification Act, investigators have three years from the date of a company’s bankruptcy to begin a disqualification proceeding.
Greensill’s bankruptcy, which sparked a political firestorm that engulfed prominent names in Whitehall and Westminster, took place in March 2021, meaning the Bankruptcy Service has until March 2024 to begin proceedings.
Company directors can face bans of two to 15 years if misconduct is found.
Other directors said to have been contacted as part of the bankruptcy service’s work are Maurice Thompson, former chairman of Greensill Capital, who sits on WH Smith’s board, and Neil Garrod, former finance director.
Inevitably, however, it will be Mr Greensill’s involvement in the investigation that will draw the most attention.
The Bankruptcy Service investigation is one of several regulatory investigations being conducted in relation to Greensill Capital, which has also resulted in a myriad of lawsuits.
The Australian businessman’s links to Sanjeev Gupta, the metals magnate, remain under scrutiny.
It emerged this week that the British Business Bank had withdrawn £400million in taxpayer guarantees for loans Greensill had made to Mr Gupta’s companies.
Sky News announced last year that the guarantees had been suspended pending further investigation.
Greensill’s rapid rise to become a fintech unicorn — a company worth at least $1 billion — attracted investment from blue-chip investors like Japan’s SoftBank.
She scrambled to access government loan programs early in the pandemic and worked desperately to force a rethink when her initial requests were rejected.
Among those involved in the Greensill scandal was David Cameron, the former Prime Minister who acted as an adviser to the company and developed a close relationship with Mr Greensill.
Lord Heywood, the late Cabinet Secretary, was also chosen to facilitate Mr Greensill’s access to the heart of Whitehall.
The winding-up of Greensill’s corporate empire continues and creditors continue to await news of possible financial recoveries from insolvency practitioners.
Grant Thornton, the accounting firm, oversees the bankruptcy proceedings.
A spokesman for the Bankruptcy Service said: “As part of our ongoing investigations, we can confirm that we have written to the directors of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited, Greensill Capital Management Company (UK) Limited and Greensill Ltd.”
A Greensill spokesman declined to comment, although a source close to the entrepreneur said that “all requests for information from all regulators following Greensill Capital’s bankruptcy will be fulfilled as quickly and fully as possible”.