The scion of a business family, Mr. Gupta established a metals trading business in the 1990s while a student at Cambridge University. In 2015, he turned his attention to the production side, going on a buying spree of steel and other metal plants in Britain, and later in countries like Romania, France and the United States. Because some of these facilities were struggling, Mr. Gupta was hailed as a savior of the steel industry in Britain.
The loss of financing from Greensill has posed a serious threat to Mr. Gupta’s businesses, which employ around 35,000 people, including 5,000 in Britain. He has been trying to find new financing to save these businesses, but the disclosure of a high-level fraud investigation could complicate these efforts.
The British government has rejected a request for 170 million pounds (about $240 million) to support the Gupta businesses, citing their “opaque accounting,” according to another parliamentary committee that is investigating the businesses and the British steel industry.
A spokesman for the Gupta companies said that the group “will cooperate fully” with the Serious Fraud Office investigation and that the group was “making progress in the refinancing of its operations.”
A spokesman for Greensill declined to comment on the Serious Fraud Office announcement.
While Greensill and Gupta had interests across the world, some of the strongest repercussions of the Greensill collapse have been in Britain, where former Prime Minister David Cameron served as a senior adviser to the financial company.
Mr. Cameron has faced withering criticism for his lobbying of senior politicians and officials on behalf of Greensill, often using emails and WhatsApp messages to make appeals to the highest ministers, including Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Cameron has said he should have used more formal means of communication.
At a video appearance on Thursday before the parliamentary committee investigating the Greensill collapse, Mr. Cameron appeared to show little contrition despite sharp criticism from lawmakers, one of whom characterized his dozens of approaches to government figures as “more like stalking than lobbying.”