Serious Fraud Office visits Whyalla steelworkers owner GFG Alliance offices in UK in fraud, money laundering investigation

Properties linked to British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance — the owner of Whyalla’s steelworks — have been searched overnight by officers from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

In a statement, the office said it attended the addresses in England, Scotland and Wales to request documents, including company balance sheets, annual reports and correspondence.

He said he spoke with executives who cooperated with the operation.

Investigators also visited the company’s office in Paris and an aluminum smelter in the French city of Dunkirk last week.

GFG operations in Australia include the steelworks in South Australia and the Liberty Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania, as well as Infrabuild steel distribution.

In May last year, the Serious Fraud Office announced it was investigating suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the GFG Alliance, including its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital.

Greensill Capital was a major lender to GFG and collapsed in April 2021.

A steelworks
The steelworks are the major employer in Whyalla, a city on the Spencer Gulf about 400km from Adelaide. (7.30 Postponement)

A GFG Alliance spokesman told ABC News this morning the “low-key visit” by investigators “was an expected step in the process”.

“We continue to deny any suggestion of wrongdoing, and we are cooperating fully with the inquiries to help ensure a swift conclusion,” he said.

“The inquiries only relate to some of our business in the UK and France, and do not relate to our Australian operations which continue to perform strongly.

“We continue to focus on operating safely and delivering our business plans.”

Mr Gupta visited South Australia at the start of the month, announcing an expansion to the company’s iron ore processing in Whyalla.

His company bought the Whyalla steelworks in 2017 after the former operator, Arrium, had been in administration for more than a year.

Late last year, GFG Alliance said profit from the Whyalla steelworks had helped it repay creditors and secure a funding agreement to restructure the debt of Mr Gupta’s international empire.

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