The Pyramid of Lies: Lex Greensill and the Billion-Dollar Scandal
The Pyramid of Lies by international financial journalist Duncan Mavin, is the true story of Lex Greensill, the Australian farmer who became a hi-flying billionaire banker before crashing back down to earth, exposing a tangled network of flawed financiers, politicians and industrialists.
Lex Greensill had a simple, billion-dollar idea - democratising supply chain 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 Lex, ever the risk taker, made lucrative loans with other people's money: to a Russian cargo plane linked to Vladimir 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 how David Cameron was allowed to lobby ministers for cash that would save Greensill's doomed business. Instead, 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.
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. It is a world populated with some of the most outlandish characters in business and some of the most outrageous examples of excess. It is a story of greed and ambition that shines a light on the murky intersection between politics and business, where lavish fortunes can be made and lost.
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