Sanjeev Gupta was once hailed the saviour of British Steel but now he and his business empire are at the centre of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. 

The SFO is looking into suspected fraudulent trading and money laundering at companies in the GFG Alliance, which has thousands of staff in the UK, including at Liberty Steel.

In Scotland, his empire acquired the Dalzell and Clydebridge steel works in Lanarkshire and it also bought an aluminium smelter and hydro plant in Lochaber. Thousands of jobs were promised in the latter but never materialised. 

But what do we know about the man that made a huge name for himself in the 2010s?

The Herald:


Mr Gupta, who was born in India but was sent to boarding school in the UK when he was 12.

He found early success, the businessman formed a chemicals trading business when he was still at Cambridge University - it was generating as much as £1 million a day before he had graduated.

He later branched out into buying steel mills, starting in Africa and Asia before turning his eye closer to home.

British Steel Saviour 

Mr Gupta started forging his reputation in the UK when he bought a struggling steel mill in South Wales, saving it from likely collapse and rescuing jobs.

He went on to relive this success several times, snapping up sites in the UK’s struggling steel industry and turning them around.

Most famously his 2016 deal with Tata Steel was estimated at the time to have saved around 1,700 jobs, earning him plaudits in the press as the “great hope” of the British steel industry.

READ MORE: SNP under pressure as Gupta business empire investigated for fraud

What now?

GFG Alliance now employs 35,000 people in 30 countries, with revenues of around 20 billion dollars (£14 billion) a year.

However, the way it is financed has come under the microscope in recent years.

Some old questions, and some new ones, were thrown into the spotlight when Greensill Capital collapsed in March.

GFG used so-called supply chain finance services offered by Greensill. This meant that if GFG sold a product to a different company, it could send the invoice to Greensill and be paid right away, rather than having to wait potentially months for the customer to pay its bills.

The Herald:

Bringing in money this way can be useful for companies with tight cash flows.

However, how Greensill and GFG did business together is being investigated by fraud investigators.

It is likely to spark renewed fears for the future of GFG’s employees.