An SNP minister's unrecorded dinner with banker Lex Greensill and steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has sparked calls for a probe into whether he broke ministerial code.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing dined with the pair and two of their senior colleagues at one of Glasgow’s top restaurants in 2017.

The Sunday Mail reports that a Freedom of Information request (FOI) revealed that the minister had no officials with him, no notes were taken, and the Government claims to have no emails, texts or phone records about the meeting.

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Financial deals struck between the Scottish Government, Mr Gupta and Mr Greensill have since exposed the Government to hundreds of millions of pounds of debt after the latter’s finance group, Greensill Capital, collapsed.

The Scottish Government said Mr Ewing attended the dinner with Mr Greensill, Mr Gupta, Tim Haywood – who was later fired from fund management firm GAM Holdings for alleged misconduct – and Jay Hambro, but does not know who paid for the meal.

According to the Sunday Mail, the Government response to the FOI said the “themes of discussion” were recorded by Mr Gupta’s company, GFG Alliance, and reported a “positive relationship” focused on “derisking” both parties while maximising plans for growth at the Lochaber smelter and hydro.

Mr Gupta had previously been given millions in state support to buy metal and power plants in Lanarkshire and the Highlands.

Political opponents are now calling for an investigation into the series of events. 

Scottish Labour has said that the lack of any official record of the meeting and no correspondence about it for a month either side of the dinner’s date requires some “serious explaining”

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Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Monica Lennon told The Sunday Mail: “Fergus Ewing has some serious explaining to do over this dinner and there needs to be an investigation into whether the ministerial code of conduct has been adhered to.

“Scottish taxpayers could end up paying out hundreds of millions of pounds over the next 25 years as a result of a deal involving these businessmen – and it’s increasingly unclear how safe that investment is or whether it ever represented good value for money.

“What on earth was a Cabinet minister doing having a cosy dinner at a posh west end restaurant without any officials present when government business was clearly on the agenda?

“Why can no record of any communications concerning the dinner be found? Are we to believe it was arranged telepathically?

“It’s beyond belief that there are no official records of the meeting at all beyond the notes taken by the businessman in attendance.

“And it’s crucial that this is not brushed under the carpet and that we get a full explanation because the fallout for the people of Scotland is potentially catastrophic.

“Over £350 million which could have been spent on hospitals, schools and public services could simply disappear.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called for an independent investigation into potential breaches and said: “The collapse of Greensill has exposed a shady network of backroom deals across the Scottish and UK Governments.

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“I’m completely unsurprised that there are no records from this meeting – by now it is clear that this is the SNP’s standard mode of operation.”

Mark Ruskell, of the Scottish Greens, said: “It’s quite shocking that this senior Cabinet minister seems to think he doesn’t have to ensure notes are taken at important meetings.”

Despite the calls from political opponents, the SNP said suggestions that the Inverness and Nairn MSP broke the ministerial code are “baseless”.

The code states that a private secretary or official should be present for all discussions relating to government business, with the basic facts of formal meetings to be recorded, including the reasons for the meeting, attendees and the interests represented.

It adds: “If ministers meet external organisations or individuals and find themselves discussing official business without an official present – for example, at a party conference, social occasion or on holiday – any significant content (such as substantive issues relating to government decisions or contracts) should be passed back to their private offices as soon as possible after the event, who should arrange for the basic facts of such meetings to be recorded.”

An SNP spokesman said: “This meeting was properly recorded within Government, and opposition attempts to make mischief around this issue are utterly baseless.

“Civil servants do not attend every dinner or engagement a minister goes to – that would be a ludicrous waste of public money – and the ministerial code does not require them to."

In 2015 the Scottish Government lent GFG Alliance £7 million to purchase the struggling Dalzell and Clydebridge steelworks from Tata and it later bought the Lochaber plant from Rio Tinto in 2016 in a £330 million deal.

As part of the deal brokered by Mr Ewing, the Scottish Government guaranteed to buy power generated by the Lochaber hydro-plant owned by the company for the next 25 years.