Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said that the government is confident the near 1,000-acre Gravenor Virdee project in Barbuda and solar power plants in Antigua will press ahead despite the legal troubles of the billionaire investor, Peter Virdee.
“Peter Virdee, the individual, is lawfully a different person to the enterprise that we are doing business with and so we expect that the enterprise will survive. Should any matter be determined that would cause him to become an inviable person in respect of this particular enterprise, we don’t know yet,” Nicholas said Thursday at a post-Cabinet briefing.
The extradition hearing for Peter Virdee is under way in the UK after he was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport in January, in connection with a £100 million VAT scam.
The 43-year-old British businessman, who has been named as an investor in a 1,000-acre development project on Barbuda and in solar power plants, was held under the European Arrest Warrant on behalf of the German authorities. Virdee, who is fighting his extradition, is expected to face several charges.
“We are also watching it with that intent but the expectation is once it is involved we will continue with the development. We already have performing, the particular project with respect to the solar plant,” Nicholas said, adding “The potential for the development in Barbuda; yes there is some risk that it could become problematic in respect of that.”
The minister said while he does not know what the outcome of Virdee’s legal troubles will be he expects others to pick up from where he left off if charges against him result in a conviction.