Convicted coke dealer, former public schoolboy and hundred-named trendy brewery boss Jules de Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson just got arrested in east London after some suspected tax evasion reminded the police he still existed. (AS IF THIS ISN'T GOING TO MAKE AN AMAZING FILM ONE DAY. AS IF BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH ISN'T PRACTICING "HOW TO HOLD A PINT NATURALLY" RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND IN PREPARATION.)
Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson – who, recall, is a real actual person, and not a deleted character from an early draft of the board game Cluedo – was questioned by HMRC officers regarding allegations that he'd not been that great at paying VAT for his thriving London Fields Brewery business. That's the current crime he's allegedly done.
But it's all a bit muddled, because your boy Juley D had previously been head of a group of nutters who were very much into selling cocaine. In fact, Whiteway-Wilkinson was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in 2004 for conspiracy to supply cocaine as the leader of a four-man gang that reportedly provided cocaine to celebrities (No! Not celebrities!) and music industry figures, the most nasally-hungry industry figures on Earth.
He told his family he was a party planner but actually flew cocaine around in a light aircraft. He was a posh, hip Tony Montana, riding around on a fixie, severing rivals' waxed moustaches with a chainsaw. Then he did a bit of bird and opened a brewery, and that was pootling along quite nicely until HMRC knocked on his door this morning.
Thing is, he still owes money to the state for, you know, all that cocaine stuff. Just a few weeks ago, JW-W appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court to negotiate extra time on a separate debt owed to the taxpayers after being ordered to repay all of his drug profits. There, Jules' lawyer argued that his beer company was "heading towards success" – to the point that he might be able to pay off his coke debt with beer money – but there's speculation that today's HMRC incident could put the stoppers on that. (In response to the arrest, a spokesperson said: "London Fields Brewery and Jules Whiteway regret the action taken by HM Revenue and Customs. The company remains an operational and growing business.")
Yes, the company. This morning, the brewery and adjoining tap room were also raided, with witnesses saying they took files and other documents away, before a forklift truck arrived to help police move equipment, stock and other things like that.
Business-wise, the brewery and its tap room have been temporarily closed following the raid, and none of the beers are currently for sale on the London Fields Brewery website. For their part in the matter, @LdnFldsBrewery tweeted today: "Any new beer blogs we should be reading? We'll be looking for guest bloggers soon for our new blog so get in touch!". So they're clearly pretty on-the-pulse.
If convicted, Poshname McGee faces up to eight additional years in prison, although based on his last stint inside jail seems to just make him stronger and better at business, so he might come out all guns a-blazing and absolutely storm The Apprentice 2022. Meanwhile, it's not sure what's going to happen with the brewery, but just know that if they stop selling Love Not War in hip east London bars as a result of this, Mare Street will burn.
In short: posh don gets arrested, decent beer in jeopardy, cocaine mildly involved.
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