Probed trader runs the rule over Corus

Balli Group, the controversial steel trader which is being investigated for fraud in Germany, has expressed an interest in buying some of the assets of the ailing Corus.

The troubled Anglo-Dutch group suffered another blow on Friday when Moody's downgraded its debt rating, putting pressure on it to sell assets to help repay a £1.4 bn loan. It put out feelers to the steel industry to see if anyone would want to buy some of its less profitable assets – with its UK plant in Scunthorpe top of the "for sale" list.

So far Ispat, run by Indian businessman Lakshmi Mittal, has admitted to talks. Balli, which is owned by three Iranian brothers, Vahid, Hassan and Nasser Alaghband, is also running the rule over Corus. "We are observing the situation with a lot of interest," said a spokesman.

Corus has asked McKinsey to conduct a strategic review of the company. Its attempt to sell its aluminium firm was blocked by the Dutch supervisory board earlier this year.

Balli would be a controversial buyer for Corus assets as it is under investigation for fraud in Germany, where it bought the famous Rhineland steel business, Klockner, in 2001. The Alaghbands are accused of removing €120m (£82m) from the company. The German authorities have frozen the business and banker WestLB is threatening to foreclose on a loan to Klockner. The Alaghbands are now looking to sell out, probably taking a large loss.

Vahid Alaghband was arrested in Switzerland last year under orders from the German authorities. He is not allowed to leave Switzerland until the case is closed. A Balli spokesman said: "We aim to sort out the situation by the end of the second quarter."

Balli is also well known to Lakshmi Mittal as it is his partner in the Sidex steel venture in Romania, which hit the headlines last year. Mr Mittal, a substantial Labour Party donor, was accused of obtaining undue help from the UK Government and the ambassador to Romania when he bid for Sidex.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower