UK Begins Criminal Investigation Into Tata Steel’s Ops in Britain

The matter relates to certain incorrect testing and certification procedures at the speciality steels business in UK.

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World
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The sun sets as smoke and steam rises from the Tata steel plant in Port Talbot, Wales. (Photo: AP)

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has launched a “criminal investigation” into workings of Tata Steel UK in relation to certain events of 2015, amid the steel maker scouting buyers for its loss-making business.

The matter relates to certain inappropriate testing and certification procedures at the South Yorkshire-based Speciality Steels business and a full investigation that was carried out internally with the help of experts.

In a statement today, Tata Steel UK said it had informed relevant bodies, including SFO, about the issue after completion of internal investigation. Without disclosing specific details about the probe, the company said since the initial notification, it has been cooperating fully with the SFO in their investigation.

Amongst other bodies proactively notified by Tata Steel UK was the Serious Fraud Office, which has opened a criminal investigation. It is not appropriate for Tata Steel to comment on that investigation. Tata Steel UK took immediate action to address the issues uncovered. The practices were immediately stopped. A detailed investigation was carried out by a technical team from outside the Speciality Steel business, and its conclusions were verified by independent experts. The investigation found the steel affected and supplied was always well within safety margins.
Statement by Tata Steel UK

Earlier, the ‘Daily Telegraph’ had reported that SFO has launched a criminal inquiry into the workings of Tata Steel UK. When contacted, the SFO told PTI that it was “declining to comment” on the matter at this stage.

During an internal audit in 2015, Tata Steel said it came across certain inappropriate testing and certification procedures at the South Yorkshire-based Speciality Steels business. Speciality Steels produces around 225,000 tonnes of steel, comprising around 3 per cent of Tata Steel Europe’s total output, and 275 million pounds of turnover.

This is also Tata Steel Europe’s only electric arc furnace-based business.

Tata Steel is seeking buyers for its cash-guzzling steel business in the UK.

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