Owner of Northumberland Britishvolt factory has offices raided by Australian tax police

Investigators went to the offices of Australian businessman David Collard over alleged tax fraud. Credit: ITV / Recharge Industries

The company which has hopes of building a gigafactory in Northumberland has denied any wrongdoing after its officers were raided by Australian Police.

Investigators went to the offices of Scale Facilitation and SaniteX, owned by Australian businessman David Collard over alleged tax fraud.

Recharge Industries, a subsidiary of Scale Facilitation bought Britishvolt this year after it collapsed.

Britishvolt had planned to build a £4bn plant in Cambois, near Blyth, to make batteries for electric cars.

A spokesperson for Australian Federal Police confirmed its serious financial crime task force carried out multiple search warrants in the greater Geelong area on Friday 23 June as part on an investigation into an alleged taxation fraud.

A spokesperson for Scale Facilitation, the owners of Recharge Industries, said: "We have and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities.  We deny any wrong doing and will continue working with our legal and other advisors to defend any matters arising from these discussions."

Scale Facilitation has yet to complete a deal to buy the land where a factory could be built.

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, said anything that could jeopardise the project was "concerning".

He said: "I'm confident that we're still on the right track but obviously I'm concerned about recent developments."

He added: "I still think they've got a fantastic plan which would bring plenty of jobs, good well-paid jobs, to south east Northumberland. I'm still encouraged by that but there are doubts. People need to see the jobs. They need to get this project over the line and people will be much happier when that actually does happen."

Today Tritax Management - one of the finance companies being lined up for the deal - told ITV News it was in the “early stages of agreeing to explore raising funds."

A spokesperson said: “Tritax Management LLP is in the early stages of agreeing to explore raising funds to finance parts of Recharge Industries’ planned gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland.

"No financing has been raised or committed, and if any financing were to be provided it would be subject to, among other matters, the completion of due diligence.”

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