Former British prime minister David Cameron is being investigated by the lobbying watchdog following claims he tried to persuade government figures to grant loans to a financial firm he worked for.
Mr Cameron reportedly sent a number of texts to the Chancellor’s private phone asking for support for Greensill Capital through the British government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
He is also alleged to have approached the Bank of England about the firm, which collapsed into administration earlier this month.
His activities are now being investigated by Harry Rich, the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists – a post set up in legislation passed by Mr Cameron’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 (€8,700).
But people lobbying on behalf of their own organisation are not required to register and it is understood that Mr 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 Mr 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.
The Times subsequently reported that he had directly lobbied the Bank of England.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson was questioned about whether Mr Cameron had contacted advisers in No 10 about the firm.
Mr Johnson said: “That’s news to me. Any such contacts or whatever, of course, will be registered in the proper way.”
In response to questions from Darren Jones, Labour chairman of the Business Select Committee, Mr Johnson added: “On your point about contact between David Cameron, a former prime minister, and my office – or anybody in my office – I simply have no knowledge of that.”
Greensill was the main financial backer for Liberty Steel, which owns 12 plants in the UK and employs 5,000 people but now faces an uncertain future.
Mr Cameron’s office has not commented on the investigation.