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London Fields Brewery in tax probe

PUBLISHED: 11:39 16 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:39 16 December 2014

A general view of London fields brewery, Hackney(photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

A general view of London fields brewery, Hackney(photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Archant

The owner of the London Fields Brewery has been arrested on suspicion of tax evasion following a dawn raid at his home.

A general view of London fields brewery, Hackney(photo: Arnaud Stephenson)A general view of London fields brewery, Hackney(photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

The owner of the London Fields Brewery has been arrested on suspicion of tax evasion following a dawn raid at his home.

Former public schoolboy and convicted cocaine smuggler Jules de Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson was detained at his house in Stoke Newington by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers on Wednesday December 3.

Officers also raided the fashionable brewery in Warburton Street — whose ales include Hackney Hopster, Shoreditch Triangle and Love Not War — which Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson co-founded three years ago.

Witnesses reported seeing files and documents being transported away before a forklift truck turned up to remove equipment and stock.

In a statement a HMRC spokesman confirmed they had “arrested a 42-year-old man in London on suspicion of cheating the revenue in respect of VAT.”

The brewery and tap room next door were temporarily closed following the raid and all five beers sold on its website are still listed as “out of stock”.

In 2004, Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson and three accomplices admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and were sentenced to 36 years in prison between them.

Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson received a jail sentence of 12 years for his part leading the £10.5m operation which supplied cocaine.

His arrest comes after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court last month at which a judge agreed to give him more time to pay a separate debt owed to taxpayers because of an imposed confiscation order following his conviction.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act the order requires Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson to pay the £2,137,500 profit he made from his activities.

Since the order was made another £1.2 million has been added to the debt in interest, and in September he had repaid just £262,000.

The decision to allow extra time for repayment followed arguments by Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson’s lawyer the brewery could soon make enough money to cover the debt.

The London Fields Brewery declined to comment.


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