Prominent Sikh businessman charged with bribing Caribbean minister

0
202

DNA

LONDON: Prominent British-Sikh businessman Peter Virdee, wanted in connection with a multimillion-pound bribery investigation by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), has been charged with bribing a foreign public official.

Virdee, 50, also known as Hardip Singh, appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court, where he was charged alongside the company of which he is a director. He has been released on bail to appear before Southwark Crown Court on June 20, said the NCA.

The NCA said: “Peter Virdee, 50, also known as Hardip Singh, appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court where he was charged with bribing a foreign public official. It is alleged that between January 2015 and July 2017 he bribed Asot Michael, a Member of Parliament and Government Minister of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy for Antigua and Barbuda, to benefit PV Energy Ltd, the company he is a director of. PV Energy Ltd was simultaneously charged with failing to prevent bribery in relation to the same offences.”

Virdee has made no comment on the charges but sources close to him have denied the charges.

According to court papers, Virdee was charged with bribing a foreign public official contrary to Section 6 of the Bribery Act 2010.

PV Energy, between January 1, 2015, and July 26, 2017, failed to prevent Singh (aka Peter Virdee), a person associated with PV Energy Limited, from bribing another person, Michael, intending to obtain or retain business for PV Energy Limited or intending to obtain or retain an advantage in the conduct of business for PV Energy, according to the details of the bribery charge.

Under the PTI government in July 2019, Virdee had announced to commit millions of pounds to Pakistan Gurdwaras to respond to Pakistani state’s decision to establish the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikhs from all over the world into Pakistan to visit their holiest of sites.

He had announced his charitable organisation Peter Virdee Foundation will join hands with other Sikh groups to inject £500 million into Pakistan to renovate and modernise hundreds of Gurdwaras. Virdee, a high-flying businessman, has donated money to both the Conservatives and Labour. He has previously given £100,000 to the Conservatives.