(Telegraph.co.uk) British businessman known as “Batman” is facing extradition to Germany and a possible 15-year prison sentence for alleged fraud and evasion of €125m (£109m) in VAT.
Peter Singh Virdee was arrested at Heathrow airport on Tuesday evening on a European arrest warrant; the Metropolitan police confirmed on Friday.
Prosecutors in Germany allege Mr Virdee was one of the “central organisers” of a criminal enterprise to defraud the authorities of VAT on carbon credits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
The 43-year-old businessman operated “in the background” and took pains to conceal his identity, prosecutors claim.
The German authorities have formally requested his extradition. Mr Virdee 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 to take advantage of EU VAT rules.
Like 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. Prosecutors in the German city of Frankfurt have pursuing the case for several years, but this is the first time Mr Virdee has been named in connection with the case.
If found guilty, Mr Virdee could face up to 15 years in prison, Alexander Bradley, a spokesman for the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office said.
The German prosecutors allege he has extensive contacts abroad, especially in India, Pakistan, Dubai (UAE), Antigua, and St. Kitts and Nevis.