David Cameron 'camped with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman'

David Cameron ‘camped in the desert with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’ as he tried to woo him for finance firm Greensill in pursuit of ‘$60m’ pay day

  • Ex-PM David Cameron is said to have attended trip to Saudi desert in early 2020
  • He attended trip with Lex Greensill and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
  • Calls have intensified for inquiry into David Cameron’s involvement with banker
  • Mr Cameron alleged to have given Mr Greensill privileged access to Whitehall
  • Comes after row over Mr Cameron allegedly seeking Covid loans access for firm 

What was Greensill Capital and what did it do? 

Greensill Capital was an Anglo-Australian finance company set up by billionaire banker Lex Greensill in 2011.

The company focused on supply chain funding.

In doing this, it essentially acts as a middle-man for large business transactions – making its money by taking a cut during the process.

In essence, if a company wants to buy raw product to make another product, it can go to a fiance firm such as Greensill to secure the funding.

The company knows that if it can obtain the raw product and create a more expensive product, then it will make the money back and hopefully a profit.

But the company might not have the ‘capital’ to afford it.  A company such as Greensill will front the cash.

Greensill does this on behalf of the purchasing company – taking a cut in the process.

The company will then pay the supplier when it can – sometimes months later – and the supplier will in turn pay back the financiers. 

Mr Greensill added an extra layer to this, by essentially allowing investors to buy the invoices as short-term assets. 

This was done through Swiss lender Credit Suisse and asset management firm GAM.

It was a move which rocketed Greensill up the financial ladder.

But, ultimately, the system runs on debt, and warning signs emerged in 2019 for the fast-growing business.

And last year the insurance company Tokio Marine, which provided cover for around £4.6billion of Greensill’s capital, said it would stop providing its cover.

Credit Suisse then froze £10billion of funds it had invested in Greensill. The company filed for insolvency earlier this month and has been taken over by administrators. 

This has had a knock on impact on Liberty Steel – which had Greensill as one of its key backers.

The steel firm employs 5,000 staff across 12 UK sites, which include Rotherham, Motherwell and Newport. 

The company requested £170million in financial support this month, but the request was rejected. 

David Cameron and billionaire financier Lex Greensill went on a desert camping trip with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as they tried to win business for the now bankrupt firm in early 2020, it has been claimed.

The former Prime Minister’s lobbying for the Australian financier have sparked calls for a public inquiry after Greensill collapsed last month when insurers refused to underwrite its loans and Credit Suisse froze the firm’s $10bn in funds.

More than 50,000 people could lose their jobs as a result of the Greensill collapse, which has also forced steel giant Liberty Steel to ask for a taxpayer-funded £170m bailout.

Mr Cameron is alleged to have been expecting to make $60m from his advisory position at Greensill, and questions are now growing over whether he improperly used his knowledge and contacts as Prime Minister to secure the role.

Cameron was Prime Minister when Greensill was pitching his financial products across government, and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood introduced the pair.

And it has since emerged that Lex Greensill was given a desk in the Cabinet Office and assisted in pitching his business across 11 government departments.

Years later, the company was given accreditation to lend money under the Government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Cameron also faced criticism for his unsuccessfully lobbying of Government officials – including Chancellor Rishi Sunak – to increase Greensill’s role in the Government-backed loan scheme.

This week he was cleared by a lobbying watchdog over his work for the company.

The watchdog looked at whether he should have registered his lobbying work for Greensill – which took place after he had stepped down as PM.

But they cleared him of any wrongdoing as he was officially an employee of the company and therefore he did not need to make a declaration. 

While PM, Cameron ordered his Conservative MPs to vote down greater lobbying transparency laws – which had they passed would have meant his future lobbying work would have needed to be registered.

Reports Cameron and Mr Greensill took a trip to Saudi Arabia last year today emerged in the Financial Times.

During the Saudi trip Mr Greensill and the Saudi Crown Prince are said to have ‘bonded under the night sky’ over their law degrees. 

The Crown Prince is ruler of the middle eastern nation, with a reported personal wealth of more than £3billion and a family worth estimated to be around £1.5trillion.

The camping trip reportedly took place around January or February last year – before Covid restrictions were put in place in the UK. 

It also took place in the months after a forensic UN report found ‘credible links’ between the Crown Prince and murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Flight records for four private planes belonging to the banker’s finance business also show a series of trips to Saudi Arabia were made early last year, according to the Financial Times.  

MailOnline has contacted Greensill Capital, the Saudi Embassy and David Cameron for comment. Administrators for Greensill declined to comment.


David Cameron (pictured left) and billionaire banker Lex Greensill (pictured right) went on a desert camping trip with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as part of a business charm offensive, it has been claimed

The Crown Prince (pictured) is ruler of the middle eastern nation with a reported personal wealth of more than £3billion

The camping trip reportedly took place around January or February last year – before Covid restrictions were put in place in the UK. Pictured: Saudi’s Crown Prince meets with Japan’s Prime Minister in Riyadh in January last year

The camping trip and flights took place in the months after a forensic UN report found ‘credible links’ between the Crown Prince and murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The Greensill saga: How Australian banker ‘gained access to No10 and Whitehall’

May 2010 – David Cameron becomes prime minister. Jeremy Heywood is appointed No10’s top civil servant.

July 2011 – Heywood starts pushing for Lex Greensill to become an adviser on ‘supply chain finance’ – a method of speeding up payments between a company and its suppliers using the finance of a third party (ie. bank). 

The Government has claimed his position as adviser was unpaid.

November 2011 – Greensill creates his own finance firm, Greensill Capital.

January 2012 – Greensill tours Whitehall, pitching his proposals to 11 departments or agencies including the Department of Health. 

He is given a team of officials, security pass and a desk in the Cabinet Office.

Summer 2012 – Greensill’s proposal to pay NHS-affiliated pharmacies using private finance make their way to David Cameron, who signs it off. 

An official alleges the report was edited and that the first draft did not support Greensill’s idea. Greenshill has reportedly denied that he had any part to play in this if found to be true.

October 2012 – Cameron announces the scheme, first run by Greensill’s ex-employer, Citibank. Six years later it is taken on by Greensill Capital.

December 2013 – Greensill is appointed as a Crown Representative, an official adviser from the private sector to the government.

August 2016 – Greensill is bailed out by trader Sanjeev Gupta, who temporarily takes a stake in the finance firm.

June 2017 – Greensill is awarded a CBE for ‘services to the economy’.

November 2018 – Cameron joins Greensill as an adviser, acquiring share options worth tens of millions.

May 2019 – Japan’s Softbank pumps £580million into Greensill.

March 2021 – Greensill collapses, exposing years of complex finance deals and threatening 50,000 jobs.

It comes as today business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng defended David Cameron over his links to Greensill Capital.

Mr Kwarteng told Sky News that former Prime Minister did ‘absolutely nothing wrong’ in terms of his relationship with the fiance firm.

He said: ‘As far as I know David Cameron did absolutely nothing wrong.

‘He was a public servant for a long time, he has now gone into public life and was working for Greensill Capital.

‘People have looked into his role. People have looked into the fact that he may or may not have contacted officials in the Treasury.

‘As far as I know everything was above board. He has been largely exonerated and I think we should just move on.’ 

The Saudi Arabia claims come amid a lobbying scandal engulfing Mr Cameron about his relationship with Mr Greensill – whose Greensill Capital business was plunged into administration earlier this month.

It is claimed the businessman, through his relationship with Mr Cameron, was given extraordinary access to No10 and struck a controversial NHS deal reportedly rejected by civil servants which profited banks.

Mr Greensill was allegedly granted a security pass and team of civil servants during the former Conservative leader’s time in Downing Street so he could promote a financial product he specialised in across Whitehall.

The banker hired the former prime minister as an adviser at his financial services company Greensill Capital in 2018, with share options worth tens of millions of pounds.

Mr Cameron told friends he was in line to make $60million from the listing of Greensill, it was claimed today, amid a growing row over the former PM’s involvement with the financial firm.

The finance company, which went bust earlier this month, was previously valued at $7billion and a friend of Mr Cameron told The Times he had been ‘candid’ about the potential windfall resulting from his shareholdings in the firm.

But the company’s collapse means that Mr Cameron’s share options have been left worthless. It also threatens 50,000 jobs.

Administrators say they are in discussions with an ‘interest party’ to buy the company’s assets.

It was previously reported that the former prime minister directly lobbied Chancellor Rishi Sunak through texts to help Mr Greensill’s stricken finance firm Greensill Capital through the Treasury’s coronavirus loan scheme.

An investigation by the Sunday Times has now alleged that Mr Greensill, a married father-of-two who lives in Cheshire, ‘seduced’ the British establishment and embedded himself into the heart of government. 

Australian financier Lex Greensill was allegedly granted a security pass and team of civil servants during Mr Cameron’s time in Downing Street so he could promote a financial product he specialised in across Whitehall. Pictured receiving his CBE at Buckingham Palace in 2017


David Cameron (left) and Jeremy Heywood (right) allegedly gave Mr Greensill unprecedented access to No10 and 11 Whitehall departments and agencies

The businessman, the son of Australian sugar cane farmers, left school during a harvest so bad it dried up his parents’ cash flow. 

He studied law by correspondence, receiving cassette tapes in the post because he could not afford university.

The financier arrived in Britain aged 24, and joined American banking giant Morgan Stanley in 2005 as the bank was expanding into supply chain finance – a tool to help businesses left vulnerable by late payments.

David Cameron ‘told friends he would make $60million from Greensill stock market flotation’ amid lobbying furore over collapsed lender 

By Jack Maidment for MailOnline 

David Cameron told friends he was in line to make $60million from the listing of Greensill, it was claimed today, amid a growing row over the former PM’s involvement with the financial firm. 

The finance company, which went bust earlier this month, was previously valued at $7billion and a friend of Mr Cameron told The Times he had been ‘candid’ about the potential windfall resulting from his shareholdings in the firm.         

But the company’s collapse means that Mr Cameron’s share options have been left worthless.  

The Times said sources close to Mr Cameron yesterday denied the claim that he had told friends about the potential value of his share options.

It comes amid calls for an inquiry into Mr Cameron’s involvement with the firm after allegations surfaced that Lex Greensill was given privileged access to Whitehall departments.

It also emerged today that the firm is being investigated by French authorities over an 18million euro (£15million) loan to a smelting plant.

Bloomberg reported that they will examine claims the payment was made to Liberty Aluminium Poitou in December last year before being recalled after a two-month waiting period, and not paid out again. 

He founded Greensill Capital, the firm that went on to employ Mr Cameron but later collapsed, causing uncertainty for thousands of jobs at Liberty Steel, having been its main financial backer.

Labour and Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, have called for a full inquiry into the ‘scandal’.

The allegations surfaced after the former Conservative leader faced scrutiny for reportedly trying to persuade government figures to grant emergency loans to Greensill Capital, where he was an adviser.

The Sunday Times report alleged the Australian financier was given access to the departments while Mr Cameron was in Number 10 so he could promote a financial product he specialised in.

The Pharmacy Early Payment Scheme, announced in 2012, saw banks swiftly reimburse pharmacists for providing NHS prescriptions, for a fee, before recovering the money from the government. Greensill Capital went on to provide funds for the scheme.

Mr Greensill could not be reached for comment, but the newspaper said he was understood to deny making large returns from a pharmacy deal.

Sir Alistair said: ‘There clearly should be a full inquiry because it sounds like a genuine scandal in which the public purse was put at risk without proper political authority.’

Labour’s shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves, said: ‘These reports raise very serious questions about the conduct of former Conservative prime minister David Cameron and the access he gave Lex Greensill to ministers and Whitehall departments.

‘The British people deserve answers to those questions. That’s why the Conservatives should agree to an urgent inquiry so we can get to the bottom of this latest scandal.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday defended his long-term ally, saying Mr Cameron is a ‘man of utmost integrity and I’ve no doubt at all he would have behaved properly’.

Asked on The Andrew Marr Show if there would be an inquiry, the Cabinet minister responded: ‘As far as I can tell, no decision in government policy was changed as a result of any meetings that took place. They’d be properly declared.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘Lex Greensill acted as a supply chain finance adviser from 2012 to 2015 and as a crown representative for three years from 2013. His appointment was approved in the normal manner and he was not paid for either role.’

The office of Mr Cameron, who was prime minister between 2010 and 2016, has not responded to a request for comment.

He was cleared of breaking lobbying rules by a watchdog after reportedly asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support Greensill Capital through the Government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists concluded that Mr Cameron was an employee of Greensill Capital so was not required to declare himself on the register of consultant lobbyists.

It was previously reported that the former prime minister directly lobbied Chancellor Rishi Sunak through texts to help Mr Greensill’s stricken finance firm Greensill Capital through the Treasury’s coronavirus loan scheme. 

An investigation by the Sunday Times has now alleged the Australian tycoon, a married father-of-two who lives in Cheshire, ‘seduced’ the British establishment and embedded himself into the heart of government. 

Mr Greensill, the son of Australian sugar cane farmers, left school during a harvest so bad it dried up his parents’ cash flow.

He studied law by correspondence, receiving cassette tapes in the post because he could not afford university. 

The financier arrived in Britain aged 24, and joined American banking giant Morgan Stanley in 2005 as the bank was expanding into supply chain finance  – a tool to help businesses left vulnerable by late payments.

Under the scheme, a bank wedges itself between and company or small business and its suppliers and pays immediately for a fee. It was this model that he would later pitch to officials across Whitehall.    

While at Morgan Stanley, Mr Greensill met Jeremy Heywood, Mr Cameron’s later chief of the civil service who was on a break from Whitehall at the time. The Cabinet Secretary died of cancer aged 56 in 2018. 

The paper reported that Mr Cameron and Mr Heywood gave Mr Greensill unprecedented access to No10 and 11 Whitehall departments and agencies.

Citing leaked documents and minutes, it said Mr Cameron, who resigned as prime minister in 2016 after his Remain campaign lost the EU referendum, signed off on a multi-billion-pound loans scheme in 2012 for NHS-linked pharmacies.

Under Mr Greensill’s plan to get small businesses paid on time, a bank would quickly reimbursing pharmacies for the cost of providing prescription drugs instead of making them wait weeks for the NHS to repay them. 

Praised at a Downing Street reception by Mr Cameron as an ‘innovative scheme’, its beneficiaries were Mr Greensill’s former bosses at Wall Street giant Citibank and, eventually, his own financial services company.

Civil servants and officials told the Sunday Times that Mr Greensill’s ascent rested on Mr Heywood, Mr Cameron’s then Cabinet Secretary who had ‘discovered’ the Australian tycoon while working in the private sector. 

Mr Heywood is said to have brought the banker on board in 2011 and tasked him with spending six months exploring whether supply chain financing could help the Government to pay suppliers more quickly.

Mr Greensill was reportedly given a security pass and four civil servants who were told to explore his ideas, write a report and submit it to ministers. He was later given a desk in the economic and domestic affairs secretariat of the Cabinet Office. 

In January 2012, the banker apparently began a whistle-stop tour of Whitehall, pitching his proposals to 11 departments or agencies including the Department of Health, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport.

His undisclosed meetings also included pitches to finance Britain’s fleet of Typhoon fighter jets and Voyager refuelling planes and to fund the upgrade of the country’s biggest motorways, including the M62, M4 and M5.

Over the summer, Mr Greensill’s proposal to pay NHS-affiliated pharmacies using private finance made their way to Mr Cameron, who signed it off. 

However, a leading official alleged that the report was handed directly to Mr Cameron, bypassing Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Paymaster General, entirely – and had been edited.

They told the paper that the main author’s name had been removed and replaced with Mr Greensill’s, and that the initial draft did not support the banker’s proposal. 

Officials are understood to have instead warned that supply chain finance was not the most effective way of helping thousands of small businesses which supply prescription drugs secure reimbursement by the NHS.  

The report is said to have suggested that there were were ‘better and simpler routes’ to pay suppliers, some of which were already in place in Whitehall. 

It is understood that Mr Heywood was copied in via email. Mr Greensill is understood to deny any involvement in changing the report.  

No10 awarded the contract to Citibank, Mr Greensill’s former employer which he had left before entering Whitehall, which ran the scheme for six years. 

In 2018, Greensill Capital won the contract, and provided £1.2billion in loans to pharmacies, taking a fee for every loan, from July 2018 until last month.  

Mr Greensill was made a crown representative, one of a selected cadre of businesspeople advising the Government. In 2017, he was made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The Australian financier then hired Mr Cameron as an adviser in 2018, giving him share options which could be worth tens of millions of pounds.

The revelation comes as Mr Cameron faces pressure over his efforts last year to lobby Mr Sunak and Government officials to help Mr Greensill’s stricken finance firm Greensill Capital through the Treasury’s coronavirus loan scheme. 

Mr Cameron was last week cleared of breaking lobbying rules by Harry Rich, the registrar of consultant lobbyists, who ruled that Mr Cameron’s role with Greensill’s firm was not that of a lobbyist and therefore no rules had been broken.

However, questions over his activities with Greensill Capital persist.

The banker hired Mr Cameron as an adviser at Greensill Capital in 2018, with share options worth tens of millions of pounds and whose collapse now threatens 50,000 jobs

Mr Greensill’s business model was to provide quick loans to companies that did not want to wait until they received payment from their customers.

Two years ago, the company said it had provided financing worth more than £100billion to ten million customers in 175 countries.

But Greensill Capital sunk into administration this month when it emerged that many of its loans were unlikely to ever be repaid.

One casualty of its spectacular collapse has been one of its clients, Liberty Steel, which employs 3,000 across Britain. This weekend it was seeking an emergency £170million Government bailout to stay afloat.

Sir Alastair Graham, the former chairman of the committee for standards in public life, called for a full inquiry because ‘it sounds like a genuine scandal in which the public purse was put at risk without proper political authority’. 

Mr Greensill and Mr Cameron declined to comment to the Sunday Times. Suzanne Heywood, Mr Heywood’s wife, told the paper that the civil service chief ‘took no personal benefit of any sort from Lex’s company’.

The Government said Mr Greensill ‘acted as a supply chain finance adviser from 2012 to 2015 and as a crown representative for three years from 2013. His appointment was approved in the normal manner and he was not paid for either role’.       

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