The Bank of England on Thursday published communications showing former British prime minister David Cameron making repeated efforts for a now-bankrupt financial firm to access a state-backed coronavirus support scheme.
It is the latest in a growing tide of revelations about links between Mr Cameron and state bodies and people in his role as an adviser to Greensill Capital, which collapsed last month.
Emails released by Britain’s central bank under freedom of information laws show Mr Cameron contacted the bank several times in March 2020 to “discuss financing conditions at the onset of the pandemic.”
The documents show he set up a call between the firm’s founder, Australian financier Lex Greensill, and the bank’s deputy governor Jon Cunliffe on March 17.
That day, the bank launched the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, a scheme under which it lent money directly to large companies, backed by the Treasury.
Mr Cameron also contacted the bank again during April 2020 after Mr Greensill failed in an attempt to tap into the recently launched scheme.
Mr Cameron wrote to Mr Cunliffe on April 22, 2020, expressing how “incredibly frustrating” the exercise had proved to be.
“Apologies for bothering you about this again,” he said.
At another call between Mr Greensill and Mr Cunliffe two days later, the latter said the firm “would currently fall outside the boundaries of the scheme".
On Thursday, the top civil servant at the Treasury, Tom Scholar, also revealed that Mr Cameron called him and sent texts as part of his lobbying for Greensill Capital, specifically the proposal to access the fund.
“The call I took from Mr Cameron was not a substantive discussion of the proposal,” Mr Scholar told a committee of parliamentarians.
“It was simply a call to draw it to my attention. I said, ‘Thank you very much, this is something we are looking at’.”
Mr Scholar said the proposal had been rejected by Treasury officials because it did not meet the criteria for the scheme.
It had been disclosed that Mr Cameron also contacted Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to try to secure government-backed loans for Greensill Capital.
The collapse of the financial firm threatens thousands of British jobs at Liberty Steel, which relied on its finance.
The House of Commons’ cross-party Treasury select committee announced it would begin an investigation next week into Greensill’s collapse and the “appropriateness” of the Treasury’s response to lobbying.
The government has launched its own investigation, led by a lawyer, but opponents doubt it will get to the truth.
Opposition parties are calling for tougher rules on contacts between business representatives and government officials, saying Britain’s loosely enforced lobbying regulations leave the door open to corruption.