Virdee granted bail in UK court on charges of bribing Michael; PM Browne claims vindication for excluding MP from slate

The man whose company provided the solar-panel farm at the airport and to
whom the Gaston Browne Administration promised close to 1,000 acres of
land on Barbuda has again found himself in legal trouble.

Reports coming out of the United Kingdom (UK) state that British
businessman Peter Singh Virdee has been charged by the United Kingdom’s
National Crime Agency for allegedly bribing an Antigua and Barbuda
On Thursday, May 23, news broke that Virdee, 50, had made an appearance
before Westminster Magistrates Court, accused of “bribing a foreign public
official” in the person of St. Peter MP Asot Michael, with the intention of
influencing his capacity as a foreign public official.

It is alleged that his company also faces an accusation of “failing to prevent
bribery in relation to the same offences.”

During his appearance in court, Virdee was granted bail; he is to return to
court on June 20, at the Southwark Crown Court, for a preparatory hearing. 
A Daily Mail report says that the businessman – a Conservative Party donor
and a property developer who met the king and late queen of England – is
alleged to have given bribes to Michael during the period January 2015 to July

At that time, MP Michael was minister of tourism, economic development,
investment, and energy.

It is alleged that Virdee offered him bribes to benefit his business, PV Energy
Ltd., the company that installed the solar farm at the V.C. Bird International
Airport, reportedly without storage batteries.
Another, larger, solar farm was created at Bethesda; that, too, is inactive.
In 2022, the Browne Administration threatened legal action against PV Energy
– of which the British investor is chairman – for non-performance. But this
lawsuit was averted after the company agreed to provide the storage batteries
it initially failed to supply.

To date, however, the Administration has presented no evidence that this
condition has been honoured.
State television is quoting Prime Minister Gaston Browne, the leader of the
Antigua Labour Party, as saying that news of Virdee’s arrest “vindicates his
decision not to allow Michael to run on an ABLP ticket in the last general
In spite of opposition to his decision from both within and outside the Party –
by persons he referred to as “paid mercenaries” – Browne says he made the
right decision.

Meanwhile, only recently, the Gaston Browne Administration was attempting
to settle with Virdee an issue involving almost 1,000 acres of land on Barbuda.
During a sitting of the Lower House a few months ago, Barbuda MP Trevor
Walker posed a question to Browne, asking whether Virdee has any leasehold
interest in 990 acres of land that were leased, in 2015, at Gravenor Bay, in