The UK’s lobbying watchdog has launched an investigation into whether David Cameron persuaded government figures to grant loans to a financial firm he worked for.
Cameron reportedly sent a number of texts to the chancellor’s private number requesting financial support for Greensill Capital through the government’s Covid business relief scheme.
He is also alleged to have approached the Bank of England about the firm, which went into administration earlier this month.
Cameron is now being investigated by Harry Rich, the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists – a post set up in legislation passed by the former prime minister’s government in 2014.
The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 makes it an offence for someone who is not a registered lobbyist to directly lobby ministers or senior civil servants.
The offence could result in a fine of up to £7,500.
But people lobbying on behalf of their own organisation are not required to register and it is understood that Cameron was an employee at Greensill.
In a statement, the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists said: “Following media reports, the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists is investigating whether David Cameron has engaged in unregistered consultant lobbying.
“The registrar will not comment on this further while the investigation is ongoing.
“Once it is complete, an investigation summary will be published on the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists website.”
The Sunday Times reported that the former prime minister sent a number of texts to Rishi Sunak asking for help for Greensill. Most of the texts to Sunak went unanswered, the newspaper said.
The chancellor reportedly backed officials who said Greensill did not qualify for the scheme and referred Cameron to senior officials at the Treasury.
Cameron’s office has not commented on the investigation.