SACE guaranteed 86 mln euro Greensill loan to collapsing Gupta steel arm

(Reuters, London, 18 March 2021) Italy's official ECA SACE guaranteed an 86 million euros ($102 million) loan from Greensill Bank, part of the collapsing Greensill Capital group, to one of Indian-British steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta’s firms, according to accounts filed with the Italian corporate registry in recent weeks. Gupta's firm, Liberty Magona SRL, secured a guarantee from SACE for the loan under measures to help companies navigate the coronavirus crisis, according to Liberty Magona’s accounts for a period from Jan. 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, which include information on material post-yearend events. German financial regulator BaFin has filed a criminal complaint against the Bremen-based Greensill Bank. Greensill Capital group filed for bankruptcy protection in Britain and Australia this month, citing a $5 billion exposure to Gupta’s GFG Alliance. It said Gupta’s firms had begun to default on its obligations. GFG Alliance employs 35,000 people across 30 countries, according to its website. In Britain, the opposition Labour Party has said the government should consider nationalising the company if it cannot secure the financial backing it is trying to attract. Italy is not the only country to have provided guarantees to Gupta’s firms. The Scottish government gave a 575 million pound guarantee to the group in 2016, Reuters reported in 2019. The Times reports that the Steel magnate and financier Greensill ‘broke borrowing rules’ as Gupta ploted to buy back assets on the cheap, exploiting a Covid-19 state guarantee scheme for struggling companies to extract £400 million of taxpayer-backed loans — eight times the limit. British ministers have rejected a request from mining magnate Sanjeev Gupta for a 170 million pound ($234.36 million) emergency loan to prevent his group, GFG Alliance, from collapsing.