Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer dollars are at heightened risk due to the failure to carry out sufficient checks on the now collapsed financial company that David Cameron has lobbied for, a committee of MPs has found.
A new report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the lessons to be learned from the disappearance of Green capital, the group of MPs considered a decision allowing the company to be a lender under government-backed COVID support programs.
The government-owned British Business Bank has approved Greensill as a lender for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Program (CBILS), as well as the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Program ( CLBILS).
Greensill lent Â£ 400million under CLBILS, the maximum he was allowed to lend, and Â£ 18.5million under CBILS.
But in March of this year, Greensill – who employed the former prime minister Mr. Cameron as an advisor – filed for bankruptcy.
In its report, the PAC found that “up to Â£ 335million in taxpayers’ money is at increased risk as a result of the failure of the British Business Bank to exercise sufficient due diligence” in Greensill, when the company has applied to be an approved lender under COVID support programs.
MPs concluded that the “Bank’s due diligence approach to accrediting Greensill was woefully inadequate” and criticized the Bank for striking the “wrong balance” between “making decisions quickly” during the pandemic and “protecting the interests of taxpayers “.
“In Greensill’s case, the Bank was not curious enough about media reports questioning Greensill’s lending model, his overexposure to borrowers, and his ethical standards until the issues were clear and hundreds millions of taxpayer dollars remain at risk, âtheir report added.
They also found that “a lack of information sharing within government” had “once again hampered sound decision-making in the government’s response to the pandemic and allowed Greensill to access funded programs. by taxpayers â.
The PAC also said the government had “not yet identified the broader lessons of its Greensill accreditation or its COVID-19 business support programs” and added that it was “essential that these lessons be identified. “.
In further criticism of the bank, MPs said she had not been “curious enough when she identified where the money lent through the programs, including Greensill, ultimately went”.
In a series of recommendations, MEPs called on the Bank to review its accreditation process and, for itself, the Treasury and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to publish a “full report on lessons learned “by July of next year.
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Mr Cameron is said to have earned around Â£ 7million during his two and a half years of part-time work for Greensill before its collapse, including a salary of Â£ 720,000 a year.
Earlier this year, the ex-prime minister was found to have bombed ministers and officials – as well as the Bank of England – with WhatsApps, texts and emails in its quest to gain Greensill’s access to government-backed COVID support programs.
PAC Chairwoman Labor MP Dame Meg Hillier said: “The British Business Bank has only had to read the papers to be aware of the serious questions about Greensill’s lending model, overexposure to borrowers and its ethical standards – but she hasn’t really started delving into these issues until the issues are clear and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are already at risk.
“He said he was ‘very surprised’ to find out where these taxpayer-guaranteed loans had come under his supervision, in violation of his own lending and accreditation rules.”
A government spokesperson said: âThe government was not involved in the decision to certify Greensill.
“The decision was taken independently by the British Business Bank, in accordance with their usual procedures.”