Current Affairs & Business
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Shocking exposé of the Lex Greensill scandal by former Wall Street Journal reporter
Robin Harvie, formerly the non-fiction publisher at Pan Macmillan, bought UK and Commonwealth, excluding Canada, rights to Pyramid of Lies: Lex Greensill and the Billion Dollar Scandal by Duncan Mavin from Northbank non-fiction agent Martin Redfern. Pan Macmillan will publish in hardback, ebook and audio in July 2022.
Lex Greensill had a simple, billion-dollar idea – democratizing trade finance. Suppliers want to get their invoices paid as soon as possible; companies want to hold off as long as they can. Greensill bridged the two. It’s mundane, boring even, but he saw an opportunity to profit. However, margins are thin and Greensill, ever the risk taker, made lucrative loans with other people’s money to boost returns: to a Russian cargo plane linked to Vladmir Putin, to former special forces who ran a private army, and crucially to companies that were fraudulent or had no revenue.
When the company finally collapsed it exposed the revolving door between Westminster and big business and laid bare David Cameron’s lobbying of ministers for cash. In Greensill’s aftermath, Credit Suisse and Japan’s SoftBank are nursing billions of dollars in losses, a German bank is under criminal investigation, and thousands of jobs are at risk.
Duncan Mavin, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, has been covering Lex Greensill for years, and with unrivalled access to key figures, he goes behind the headlines to bring this shocking financial scandal to life.
Matthew Cole, who has taken over as editor, said, ‘Pyramid of Lies is a classic tale of ambition, greed and hubris, updated for the globalized twenty-first century. What Bad Blood did for Silicon Valley and The Smartest Guys in the Room did for Wall Street, The Pyramid of Lies will do for the world of shadow banking and supply chain finance. Duncan’s jaw-dropping account reads like a thriller and I can’t wait for others to discover it.’
Duncan Mavin said, ‘When I first met Lex Greensill, he was on his way to becoming one of the biggest success stories of the post-financial crisis business world. He was a billionaire, on paper at least, and had the backing of political and financial elites. There were obvious flaws in the business model, but even those of us who were asking tough questions didn’t know how spectacularly the Greensill scandal would unravel. The collapse of Lex’s company has already cost hundreds of jobs, put thousands more at risk and left billions of dollars unaccounted for. I’m grateful to Macmillan for the opportunity to explain how on earth it all happened.’