MP defends himself after BVI leader scandal

By Phil Stoneham   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 5th May 2022 6:00 am
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Sir Geoffrey Cox MP
Sir Geoffrey Cox MP (TINDLE )

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WEST Devon and Torridge MP Sir Geoffrey Cox has disassociated himself from any involvement with British Virgin Islands premier Andrew Fahie, who is facing drug smuggling and money laundering accusations following his arrest in Miami.

Former Attorney General Sir Geoffrey found himself under the spotlight last year after he worked for the Government on the British Virgin Islands (BVI) when everyone else was in covid lockdown. He was reported to have earned more than £1-million last year while working for the BVI government and from other legal work.

Sir Geoffrey was referred to the Commons anti-sleaze watchdog, but always denied breaking any rules and last December it was decided he would not be investigated.

The West Devon MP bit back at reports which indicated he was representing Fahie. In a lengthy statement, the MP said: ‘Some reports have stated that I was retained last year as legal counsel to advise and represent the Premier of the British Virgin Islands “against corruption charges”. These reports are not accurate. With this in mind, I wish to make the following facts clear: The Premier of the British Virgin Islands is not and has never been my client. The role of a barrister is to give objective and independent legal advice and representation to his client. It implies neither approval nor disapproval of his clients’ conduct or of their political or other policies and views.’

He added: ‘I was instructed in 2021 by solicitors, Withers LLP, to advise the Attorney General, various government ministries (including the office of the premier), and the cabinet of the British Virgin Islands (a British overseas territory), in connection with a public inquiry. There were at that time no criminal charges of any kind.

‘If accusations of corruption on the part of any individual elected or other official had been made at the Inquiry, he or she would have been bound to have sought their own legal advice and representation and could not have been advised by me or by the Government’s other legal advisors who were obliged to act only for those public bodies and institutions and in the public interest.’

Sir Geoffrey, who has represented Torridge and West Devon since 2005, said no allegation of corruption was put to any witness at the public hearings and no information or evidence of official complicity in drug running was heard in those hearings.

He said: ‘I am not involved in advising the Premier of the British Virgin Islands in the criminal proceedings initiated against him in the United States, which are not connected with the Inquiry, or in any other matter.

‘Taking these points into consideration, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.’

British Virgin Island Premier Andrew Fahie
British Virgin Island Premier Andrew Fahie (Wikimedia Commons ) (Wikimedia Commons)

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