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CRIME

Police raid French sites of British steel magnate’s company

The French headquarters of British steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance and a foundry have been raided by investigators probing suspicions of money laundering and abuse of corporate assets, the company said on Tuesday.

Police raid French sites of British steel magnate's company
Illustration photo of Aluminum Dunkerque, Europe's largest foundry. Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP

The raids last week at the Paris corporate office and the Aluminium Dunkerque foundry were part of a preliminary investigation opened in July last year and is being conducted by a specialised financial crime brigade, said a source close to the case, confirming a report in the Financial Times.

Gupta and his Liberty Steel firm was once seen as the saviour of British steelmaking.

But Liberty Steel, one of the world’s top steel groups, has been fighting for survival following the March 2021 collapse of Greensill Capital, the main lender to its parent company Gupta Family Group (GFG) Alliance.

British authorities are also investigating the GFG Alliance.

“The French authorities came to our offices in Paris last week as part of the investigation underway,” a GFG Alliance spokesman told AFP.

“We strongly reject any suggestion of reprehensible actions and we continue to cooperate fully with French authorities to help them complete the case rapidly,” he added.

The French case initially targeted a state-guaranteed loan made by Greensill Capital to GFG-owned foundry, Liberty Aluminium Poitou, said the source familiar with the case.

It later expanded to include Aluminium Dunkerque, Europe’s largest foundry, whose takeover last October by the American Industrial Partners (AIP) private equity fund is contested by GFG.

According to the FT, the probe is looking at a deal concluded with Swiss commodities group Glencore to block the takeover and the use of €25 million from the foundry’s accounts to settle a legal dispute with Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining group which sold the foundry to GFG Alliance in 2018.

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POLICE

France charges teen over ‘imminent terror attack’ plot

French authorities have charged an 18-year-old man on suspicion of planning an imminent terror attack with a knife in the name of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

France charges teen over 'imminent terror attack' plot

Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack “in the name of IS, to which he had pledged allegiance,” said the source, who asked not to be named, adding that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The source added that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The man, from a Muslim family, had adopted extremist views and was considered a threat, sparking France’s anti-terror prosecutors office (PNAT) to open an investigation on May 19, a source close to the case said.

Police arrested him on Friday and a video of him swearing allegiance to IS was found in his possession.

The source did not say whom he was planning to target in the attack or in which location.

France saw a wave of jihadist attacks from 2015 that left hundreds dead and pushed the country to its highest level of security alert.

There has been no repeat of a mass atrocity in the last years, but there have been several deadly attacks carried out by lone individuals

More to follow

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