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Civil Servant 'took Greensill job without telling ethics watchdog'

New ‘croynism’ row as it is revealed the Government’s former commercial chief Bill Crothers ‘took a job at Greensill without the Whitehall ethics watchdog being told’ amid questions over ex-PM David Cameron’s links to firm

  • Business card obtained by Labour raised fresh questions about the businessman 
  • Lex Greensill had No 10 email address and landline while he was ‘senior adviser’
  • The Australian financier advised Cameron government between 2012 and 2015
  • Shadow chancellor says it raises more questions about access Grensill was given

A senior civil servant went to work for a finance firm run by an ex-adviser to David Cameron after working with him in Government, without getting approval from the ethics watchdog, it emerged today.

Bill Crother was chief commercial officer under David Cameron’s premiership and took up a post with finance firm Greensill Capital a year after leaving Whitehall.

The company and its founder Lex Greensill are at the heart of a lobbying row involving Mr Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2015 and worked for the firm before it collapsed earlier this year.

Last night it emerged that Australian financier Mr Greensill once had his own Downing Street business card, describing him as a ‘senior adviser’ in the ‘Prime Minister’s Office’.

The Times reported that Mr Crother worked with Mr Greensill when the later was in Downing Street.

In 2016, a year after leaving the public sector, he joined Greensill, but there is no record of the role having been vetted by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba). 

A source close to Mr Crother told the Times that he believed he had followed the rules when taking up the job. 

Bill Crother was chief commercial officer under David Cameron’s premiership and took up a post with finance firm Greensill Capital a year after leaving Whitehall

David Cameron (left) is facing further questions about his relationship with controversial Australian businessman Lex Greensill (right) after it emerged he had a No 10 email and landline during his time as a ‘senior adviser’ to Mr Cameron’s government between 2012 and 2015

Mr Cameron was facing fresh questions about his relationship with Mr Greensill last night over his business card, unearthed by the Labour Party.

He had a No 10 email address during his three years as a financial adviser to the Cameron government, between 2012 and 2015, and a landline telephone number at Downing Street. 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: ‘This raises further serious questions about the special access Lex Greensill was granted to the heart of government. The public have a right to know what happened here.’

In 2016, two years after Mr Cameron quit as prime minister, the roles were reversed as he was appointed as a senior adviser to Mr Greensill’s company Greensill Capital.

It came amid claims that Mr Cameron and Mr Greensill went on a desert camping trip with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – who is accused of approving the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – early last year.

The desert trip by Mr Greensill and also allegedly by his senior adviser Mr Cameron are believed to have been part of a bid to win a lucrative contract with state-run oil firm Saudi Aramco, the world’s most profitable company, The Financial Times reported.

It comes after the Daily Mail told how Mr Cameron had previously given the headline speech at a Saudi summit known as ‘Davos in the Desert’ in October 2019.

Mr Cameron went on to lobby ministers, civil servants and the Bank of England in a failed bid to get Greensill Capital access to the biggest taxpayer-funded Covid loan fund.

His stake in the company could have been worth tens of millions of pounds, but the specialist lender collapsed into administration this month, putting thousands of British steel jobs at risk.

Labour is pressing Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to probe the access Mr Greensill and Mr Cameron had to the top levels of Government and Whitehall.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘What’s happening with Greensill gets murkier by the day.’

However, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News yesterday: ‘As far as I know, David Cameron did absolutely nothing wrong.’ Mr Cameron’s spokesman has declined repeated requests to comment.

It came as Mr Kwarteng said the Government could bail out Liberty Steel jobs and plants – but not owner Sanjeev Gupta’s firm, GFG, which employs 5,000 people in Britain. About 3,000 of these work at Liberty.

GFG has been battling to stay afloat since Greensill Capital went into administration.

Mr Kwarteng said all options were on the table to save jobs and 11 Liberty factories. They could include nationalising the struggling steel maker.

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