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The Pyramid of Lies: Lex Greensill and the Billion-Dollar Scandal

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The inside story of one of the superstars of global FinTech, Lex Greensill, and his dramatic fall from grace.

In March 2021, an obscure financial technology company called Greensill Capital collapsed, going into administration. As it unravelled, a multibillion-dollar scandal emerged that would shake the very foundations of the British political system, drawing in swiss bank
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 21st 2022 by Pan Macmillan (first published July 21st 2022)
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Simon Harrison
Aug 22, 2022 rated it really liked it
A few years ago, I made it into an intimate meeting at the "top table". Just me and the top brass. I had prepared copious notes to discuss the large deal that was imminent. But I hadn't prepared to discuss horse racing, the ownership of horses, or the best dogs to keep at stables.
Like that meeting, this book made me incredibly angry. It's a detailed study of Lex Greensill's business activities, which (it makes clear in the title, but not quite directly in the text) required a pyramid scheme to
Jul 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly researched, expertly paced and beautifully written. Mavin manages to explain the industry, the financial pyramid, the political back channelling and the ultimate collapse of Greensill.
Nov 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Well-researched, cool and reserved. Mavin examines another charismatic charlatan to add to the pile of grifters who've managed to wile their way into powerful circles and use that as well as some, ahem, "creative accounting", to squander hundreds of millions of dollars in a fraudulent pyramid scheme. The book shares many of exactly the same beats as Dan McCrum's Money Men: A Hot Startup, A Billion Dollar Fraud, A Fight for the Truth: a journalist sniffing out the story and doggedly pursuing it; ...more
Aletha Walters
Aug 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Wow! The Great Australian con led onto an international stage.

Hard to believe that in todays economy this could even be allowed to happen.

A sad day for his family, their reputation and name. May he be held accountable for his actions through pure contempt and arrogance for those around him.

This is not a sliding doors moment. This book was based on such extreme detail and factual evidence that it astounds me he ever thought this was going to end any other way.
Julian Walker
Sep 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely fabulous story of a breathtaking financial fraud, taking place under the noses of the rich, famous, and far too many people who should have known better.

Written like a taut thriller, the author has painstakingly researched a highly complex web of deceit, and laid bare an extraordinary true scandal which ensnared the UK Government, and casts doubt on the integrity of then British prime minister himself.

A cracking and jaw-dropping read.
David Govan
Good reading

A good fast flowing read for anyone interested in the corruption of the Tory government. But for those who have been following from the start there is little new. The picture of Greensill and Cameron enjoying a beer in the backyard of murderer Mohammed Bin Salman's house will remain in my memory for ever.
James Anderson
Aug 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
Back to reading.

Slightly repetitive at points but v much enjoyed. Informative, interesting, well written - classic non fiction that reads almost like a fiction

NB: review of my own purposes so I don’t forget what I’ve read
Juarez  Poletto Jr.
Sep 28, 2022 rated it liked it
Not as much entertaining as I thought it would be, but, nevertheless a scary story. I'm still not sure how those people are able to fool so many people for so much time!
Hugh Nguyen
Oct 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Held my attention right to the end. I didn't expect to find myself as engrossed as I was. Certainly a tribute to the excellent writing style of Duncan Mavin. ...more
Ann Carrier
Aug 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well. This explains a lot.

Also, my gast is genuinely flabbered that he got away with it for so fucking long.
Aug 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
This book was well written and very readable. I would definitely recommend the audio book as well.

It is essentially a character study of Lex Greensill and why his business had to fail. Some of his "investments" were just mindboggling. I couldn't believe that a Swiss bank continued lending him money and advertise his investments and that many investors also didn't do any research.

It was interesting to read about the investigation of the author and how he went through the relevant reports to try
The author is to be applauded in carrying out such extensive research to track these operatives who move millions of pounds in shady dealings - including the activities of David Cameron. I found it a bit of a struggle given the level of detail and tended to skip pages - but nevertheless very informative.
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Duncan Mavin is a seasoned international financial journalist. Born and raised near Newcastle, he studied history at Durham University and spent a decade as a chartered accountant in the City and in Toronto. He then became a financial reporter and foreign correspondent for Canada’s National Post. Since 2009, he has been a reporter and editor for Dow Jones publications including the Wall Street Jou ...more

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51 likes · 3 comments
“By 2017, GFG accounted for more than two-thirds of all Greensill revenue. Greensill needed GFG for revenue – the interest and fees on the loans Greensill made to GFG. GFG needed Greensill for cash in the form of the loans Greensill extended. Still, some GFG executives and advisers were concerned. They pushed Gupta to diversify the group’s source of funding beyond Greensill.” 0 likes
“GA stumped up $250 million for an approximate 14 per cent stake in Greensill in July 2018. Whatever the internal doubts at GA, externally their investment was a ringing endorsement for Lex. He had the backing of one of the world’s premier investors. And his company was valued at about $1.7 billion.” 0 likes
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