LONDON, United Kingdom, Sunday January 15, 2017 – A British businessman who was investing in several projects in Antigua and Barbuda has been arrested in London in connection with tax fraud in Germany.
Peter Singh Virdee was arrested at Heathrow Airport last week on a European arrest warrant, on behalf of the authorities in Germany.
The 43-year-old businessman was named as one of the investors in the US$450 million Gravenor Bay project in Antigua and Barbuda which includes two five-star hotels, golf course, marina, polo friend, villas, commercial units and residential apartments. His clean energy company, PV Energy, had also signed a contract with the government of the twin-island nation to develop and install two solar plants and solar panel roof installations on more than 50 schools and public buildings.
Virdee appeared before a Westminster Magistrates’ Court where his extradition proceedings commenced on Wednesday and he was released on bail.
He is accused of operating a so-called “VAT carousel” scheme on EU carbon credits, under which traders export the credits from one member state to another in order to take advantage of EU VAT rules. As exports, the sales are exempt from VAT, but the traders charge their customers VAT which they never declare to the authorities. The scheme ran from 2008 to 2012.
It’s alleged Virdee operated “in the background” but was one of the central organizers of the criminal enterprise and was known in the group as “Batman”.
If found guilty, he could face up to 15 years in prison. But he has denied the allegations.
A statement from the legal firm representing Virdee, Carter-Ruck, stated: “Our client categorically denies these allegations; he has never been involved in carbon trading let alone in any kind of fraud. While he is happy to cooperate with the authorities he intends to defend himself fully against these allegations and the attempts to extradite him to Germany.”