Government showed 'unusual' interest in Greensill

The government wanted slotxo the decision over whether Greensill Capital could take part in an emergency lending scheme to be prioritised, a watchdog said.

The Department for Business (BEIS) showed an "unusual" level of interest in the finance firm's accreditation, the National Audit Office said.

A report found BEIS emailed eight times for updates on Greensill's application.

The government said there was no suggestion ministers or officials made efforts to influence the decision.

A spokesperson added department officials requested updates on Greensill's accreditation process so that it could "assess whether jobs were at risk at Liberty Steel and its supply chain".

Greensill Capital, which has since collapsed, made seven loans totalling £350m to companies owned by Sanjeev Gupta's business empire, GFG Alliance, which included Liberty Steel, the UK's third-largest steel manufacturer which employs 3,000 people.

The National Audit Office has released a report looking at the accreditation process that Greensill Capital went through, in order to gain access to government backing for its loans.

The NAO's investigation follows a lobbying row, which started when it was revealed that former prime minister David Cameron sent messages to the Chancellor's private phone to ask for help for the lender, where he worked as an adviser.

The firm was run by Lex Greensill - a former unpaid adviser to the ex-PM during his time in No 10.