The owner of the London Fields Brewery has been granted extra time to pay off over £2 million in profits owed to the taxpayer from his days as the ringleader of a “prolific” drugs ring.
Jules Whiteway, who co-founded the London Fields Brewery in 2011, led a £10.5 million operation supplying cocaine to celebrities and City workers.
In 2004, Whiteway and three accomplices admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and were sentenced to a cumulative 36 years in prison.
The four dealers were described at the time by prosecutor Francis Sheridan as a “prolific group of cocaine sellers whose supply activities can only properly be described as being massive.”
At the time of his arrest, Whiteway lived in a house worth £300,000, owned a BMW and had a share in a light aircraft, despite a declared income of just £20,000.
Whiteway, who boasted about laundering “briefcases of cash” from the operation, received a jail sentence of 12 years.
This sentence has since been replaced with a confiscation order which requires him to pay the £2,137,500 profit he had made from his criminal activities.
As of September, he had repaid just £262,000.
Whiteway currently makes £500 monthly repayments to the taxpayer.
In the case’s latest development, Whiteway has been given extra time to make the repayments so that he can grow his business and contribute profits to the confiscation order.
Gavin Irwin, Whiteway’s barrister, argued that the deferment will allow his client to honour international orders, open an events space, and purchase a new fermenter, all of which would bring the business millions of pounds over the coming years.
At a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe ruled that Whiteway’s monthly payments will not increase for at least six months.
The case was adjourned until 26 May 2015 when, as reported by the Evening Standard, Whiteway may then be forced to pay a “significant lump sum”.
Judge Roscoe warned Whiteway, who co-owns the business with his wife, against hiding his assets, many of which are thought to be beyond the reach of prosecutors:
“We have many people who come here showing assets that have suddenly gone to their partner, or a dominant shareholding in a company that becomes less dominant.
“The court wants to see some reassurance that this is not suddenly going to disappear into the ether.”
The ruling comes at a time when repayment of assets of organised criminals are under heavy scrutiny.
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, criticised the poor levels of repayment earlier this year.
He said: “The public will find it incredible that we are only getting back £1 in every £6 from those who have committed criminal offences but who can afford to pay.”
The National Audit Office has found that as little as 26p per £100 is reclaimed from criminals.
Mr Whiteway declined to comment to the Hackney Citizen.
Luke Graham contributed research