Australian tax police searched the offices of the owner of Britishvolt

Northumberland-based proposed Britishvolt plant

After the buyer of Britishvolt was searched by Australian police, the idea of a new battery factory in Northumberland was dashed.

Investigators visited the Scale Facilitation and SaniteX offices, which are owned by Australian businessman David Collard, in connection with an alleged tax fraud.

Britishvolt was acquired this year after it failed by Recharge Industries, a division of Scale Facilitation.

But it has yet to make a payment for a potential plant location at the Port of Blyth.

The tax raid, according to sources close to Mr. Collard, a former partner at accounting behemoth PwC, is the result of a misunderstanding of the relationship between US and Australian tax filings, and all parties were cooperating.

Scale Facilitation, a New York-based investment fund with Australian offices, is the ultimate owner and manager of Recharge Industries.

Despite the support of politicians, including the former prime minister Boris Johnson, in the public, Recharge Industries acquired the assets of Britishvolt after it entered administration.

To produce batteries for electric vehicles and add about 3,000 skilled jobs, Britishvolt intended to invest £4 billion in a plant in Northumberland.   .

The business, though, had trouble turning a profit and eventually ran out of cash in January.

Recharge Industries now has much more time than the original deadline of March 31 to complete and pay for the purchase of the Northumberland site.

Recharge insiders acknowledged that staff wages in Australia had not been paid for about two weeks, but they insisted that payments had since been made.

According to them, the business is still confident that it will be able to obtain the funding necessary to finish buying the land at the Port of Blyth in the following two to four weeks.   .

The owners of Recharge, according to the BBC, remain optimistic that a deal to develop the £4 billion website can go through.

Recharge is anticipated to hold a minority stake in North East Gigafactory Development LLP, a new business founded by well-known and wealthy investors Tritax and Abrdn, who will jointly own the majority of the company.   .

Instead of developing batteries for electric vehicles, Recharge initially had plans for the site to develop battery storage technology.

A source with knowledge of the situation told the BBC that the government's initial enthusiasm for the project had waned.

They claimed that "government certainly wasn't rolling out the red carpet" and the BBC understands that neither Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch nor the Secretary for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, have met with the Australian owners.

However, it appears that the hopes for a soon-to-be-started plant that is expected to create thousands of jobs in the North East are once again on hold.


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