Major Conservative Party donor arrested in alleged £100m VAT scam – and faces extradition to Germany
Peter Singh Virdee is being held at Heathrow Airport as prosecutors claim he was one of the ‘central organisers’ of a criminal plot to defraud the authorities of VAT
A photo of him with Rihanna on Virdee’s website
A businessman facing extradition to Germany over an alleged £100m VAT scam is a major Conservative Party donor, the Daily Mirror has revealed.
Peter Singh Virdee, 43, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday by officers from the Met’s Extradition Unit.
His company, B&S Properties, has donated £98,000 to the Conservatives since 2011, and Virdee was invited to dinner in 2012 with a senior minister and other donors.
German prosecutors say Virdee is one of the “central organizers” of a criminal conspiracy to levy value-added tax on carbon credits under the European Union’s emissions trading scheme.
Carbon credits are tradable permits for countries or companies to generate a certain amount of emissions.
Prosecutors claim the Sikh tycoon worked “behind the scenes” and worked hard to hide his identity.
If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years in prison for fraud and tax evasion of €125m (£109m).
Verdi, a visiting professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, has denied the allegations.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “British national Peter Singh Virdee, 43, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday 10 January. He was arrested on behalf of German authorities on a European warrant , he is wanted for tax evasion.” Virdee appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week and was released on bail.
Carter-Ruck, the law firm representing Virdee, said: “Our client categorically denies the allegations; he has never been involved in carbon trading, let alone any form of fraud.
“While he is happy to cooperate with the authorities, he intends to fully defend himself against these charges and attempts to extradite him.”
The company said the investigation had been ongoing for six years and that Virdee was “surprised” that German authorities wanted to extradite him. It said the charges were based solely on “statements made by a convicted fraudster who entered into some form of plea bargain in exchange for implicated”.
Virdee’s company made five separate donations to the Conservative Party between 2011 and 2014. Party records show Virdee was “one of the major donors to the leadership group’s activities, which included a meal and a minister’s attendance” between July 2012 and September 2012.
Senior Conservative ministers at the event were David Cameron, George Osborne and former Prime Minister, Prime Minister and Energy Minister Greg Barker.
Virdee’s website details his charity work and features a series of photos of his meetings with the Queen and Prince Philip, sportsman Usain Bolt, singer Rihanna and actors Al Pacino and Mickey Rourke.
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