A senior SNP minister is facing a ministerial code investigation over a dinner with banker Lex Greensill and steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta following a deal that threatens to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.
Fergus Ewing, the Rural Economy Secretary, dined with the pair and two of their senior colleagues at one of Glasgow's top restaurants in 2017.
But a Freedom of Information request (FOI) has revealed that the minister had no officials with him, no notes were taken, and the Government claims to have no emails, texts or phone records about the meeting.
The previous year the Scottish Government struck a deal with Mr Gupta, which allowed his GFG Alliance to complete a £330 million purchase of the UK’s last aluminium smelter and hydro power plants in Fort William in 2016.
Mr Ewing signed a 25-year guarantee, worth around £300 million, which commits the Scottish Government to buying the plants’ electricity if the smelter shut down.
But his firm GFG Alliance is in crisis following the collapse of Greensill Capital, which was his largest financial backer before it went into administration.
The ministerial code states that a private secretary or official should be present for all discussions relating to government business, with the basic facts of formal meetings to be recorded, including the reasons for the meeting, attendees and the interests represented.
It also states that ministers who "find themselves discussing official business without an official present " should pass "any significant content" to their private officers "as soon as possible after the event, who should arrange for the basic facts of such meetings to be recorded."
The SNP said suggestions that Mr Ewing broke the ministerial code were "baseless" but Scottish Labour said the lack of any official record of the meeting, or any correspondence about it for a month before or after the Glasgow dinner, requires some "serious explaining".
Monica Lennon, the party's economy spokesman, said: "Scottish taxpayers could end up paying out hundreds of millions of pounds over the next 25 years as a result of a deal involving these businessmen - and it's increasingly unclear how safe that investment is or whether it ever represented good value for money.
"What on earth was a Cabinet minister doing having a cosy dinner at a posh west end restaurant without any officials present when government business was clearly on the agenda?
"Why can no record of any communications concerning the dinner be found? Are we to believe it was arranged telepathically?"
The Scottish Government said Mr Ewing attended the dinner with Mr Greensill, Mr Gupta, Tim Haywood - who was later fired from fund management firm GAM Holdings for alleged misconduct - and Jay Hambro, but does not know who paid for the meal.
The response to the FOI by the Sunday Mail said the "themes of discussion" were recorded by Mr Gupta's company, GFG Alliance, and reported a "positive relationship" focused on "derisking" both parties while maximising plans for growth at the Lochaber smelter and hydro.
Mr Ewing admitted last month that fewer than 50 of a promised 2,000 new jobs had been created following GFG's takeover of the smelter.
An SNP spokesman said: "This meeting was properly recorded within Government, and opposition attempts to make mischief around this issue are utterly baseless.
"Civil servants do not attend every dinner or engagement a minister goes to - that would be a ludicrous waste of public money - and the ministerial code does not require them to."