David Cameron’s Greensill connection risks haunting ex-PM’s return to government

David Cameron's Greensill connection risks haunting ex-PM's return to government

Bringing David Cameron – who presumably from now on we must describe as Lord Cameron – into government as foreign secretary is not without risks for Rishi Sunak.

That isn’t just because his return to government has the rare potential to simultaneously antagonise both the right-wing of the Conservative Party and floating voters still harbouring grievances about Mr Cameron‘s decision to call a Brexit referendum.

It’s also because there is still a cloud hanging over the enterprise for which the former prime minister is best-known in his post-Downing Street career: his involvement with the collapsed speciality finance group Greensill Capital.

Mr Cameron was an adviser to the supply chain finance business, reportedly on a salary of £720,000, on whose behalf it later turned out he had lobbied government figures.

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This only emerged after Greensill collapsed in March 2021 due to its exposure to GFG Alliance, a group of businesses specialising in the metals industry, which was controlled by the entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta.

The fallout from the Greensill affair is still rumbling on. The Serious Fraud Office is still investigating Mr Gupta’s business empire and, in particular, its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital.

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Meanwhile, in June this year, Lex Greensill – Greensill’s founder – was named alongside four former bankers at the failed lender Credit Suisse as a suspect in a Swiss criminal case.

Germany’s financial watchdog has also filed a criminal complaint against the management of Greensill’s German banking arm.

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David Cameron now foreign secretary

Mr Cameron was not the first former PM to face questions over his links with business in his post-Downing Street life.

But it has, nonetheless, proved an embarrassing connection for him and especially when he was photographed with Mr Greensill on a camping trip in the Saudi Arabian desert – just months after the murder in October 2018 of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi – accompanied by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Expect Labour to bring up Mr Cameron’s involvement with Mr Greensill at every conceivable opportunity.