Former Prime Minister David Cameron came under fire recently for lobbying on behalf of financial company Greensill.
Set up by Lex Greensill, a former unpaid adviser to Cameron’s government, the former PM started work at the company in 2018, lobbying current ministers as part of the job.
Who is Lex Greensill - and what is Greensill Capital?
Alexander David Greensill, known as “Lex” Greensill, is an Australian businessman best known for setting up Greensill, a financial services company focused on derivative financial products and supply chain finance.
Early on in his career, he was an unpaid adviser to David Cameron’s government, founding Greensill Capital in 2011.
In 2017, he was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Prince Charles for services to business.
What is Lex Greensill’s net worth?
Greensill was formerly a billionaire, owning several private jets and networking with high-profile individuals in the upper echelons of UK society.
Earlier this year, Greensill Capital sought a corporate valuation of $7 billion.
However, this net worth has dropped significantly, with Greensill Capital collapsing in early 2021 after filing for insolvency protection.
This, and a number of lawsuits now being faced by the company, has meant Lex Greensill is no longer a billionaire.
What happened to Greensill Capital?
Greensill Capital crashed into administration in March after a number of creditors pulled funding over doubts about its valuation, leaving firms such as Liberty Steel in the UK at risk, as one of its main lenders.
Prior to this, Greensill had been embroiled in several different controversies, including over the company’s accounting and sources of financing.
Former PM David Cameron’s involvement in lobbying on behalf of the company has similarly damaged its reputation.
Why did David Cameron face criticism?
Following his exit from Downing Street in 2016, David Cameron joined Greensill Capital as an in-house adviser in 2018.
While employed as an adviser for Greensill Capital, Cameron lobbied Chancellor Rishi Sunak along with other Treasury officials to get Greensill capital access to the Covid-related Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) loan scheme.
The chancellor last week confirmed that he “pushed” his team to try and give Greensill access to the scheme following Cameron’s efforts.
Cameron also met current Health Secretary Matt Hancock to discuss a new NHS payment scheme over a “private drink”.
Current rules around lobbying state that former ministers cannot lobby the government until at least two years have passed since they left office.
While David Cameron’s lobbying abides to this rule, his actions have sparked a wider conversation about the role of private companies in lobbying the government as well as the ease with which Cameron lobbied ministers.
Will anyone face consequences?
Following outrage over the revelations, the government asked a lawyer to conduct a review into Cameron’s lobbying, with a report to be issued by the end of June.
David Cameron and Lex Greensill are both to give evidence before MPs imminently as part of the enquiry into the scandal.