The founder of the UK’s London Fields Brewery, Julian De Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson, a former drug dealer who was released from jail in 2010 after having served half of his 12-year sentence for selling cocaine and ecstasy, couldn’t stay out of trouble.
In 2011 Whiteway-Wilkinson started London Fields Brewery which took off almost immediately and fast became a popular beer hang for London’s movie stars and the city’s hipster glitterati.
But he still had an unpaid £3.2m confiscation order, relating to his initial conviction, hanging over his head and that he hoped that the brewery’s success would help him alleviate.
Then somewhere along the line Whiteway-Wilkinson (clearly no stranger to trouble) ran into tax problems involving the brewery.
And he ended up in court again, this time for tax evasion, which he argued was the result of a “ludicrous bureaucratic bungle” caused by a taxman who as the Evening Standard reports, “stopped him from paying beer duty.”
But the good news is (at least for Whiteway-Wilkinson) that the jury decided the tax department’s actions were an “abuse of power” and they cleared him this week of those tax fraud charges.
The Drinks Business is reporting Whiteway-Wilkinson told jurors he intended to pay the cash to HMRC (the UK’s tax department) but had not been able to do so while he was still subject to the confiscation order, relating to his previous convictions for drug dealing.
Earlier this year, Whiteway-Wilkinson (who was described in court as having transformed himself from a “wastrel and drug dealer to an entrepreneur and success”) escaped a possible 8-year default sentence surrounding his inability to pay the initial confiscation order.
And as we’ve reported London Fields Brewery, was sold earlier this month to Carlsberg UK in an estimated £4 million deal – and will now operate independently as part of a joint venture between Carlsberg and Brooklyn Brewery.
Jules de Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson image credit: The Drinks Business