A property developer has left the Caribbean islands where he is facing criminal charges after being accused of bribing members of the former Government.
Solicitors acting for Richard Padgett from Denton, near Ilkley, said the businessman had left the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), where he spent several years attempting to build a luxury hotel and spa resort.
They did not reveal where Mr Padgett has gone, but confirmed he was not due back in court on the islands until April.
The solicitors, Manchester-based Pannone, confirmed they were representing Mr Padgett, but would not comment on the charges he faces, which allege the businessman and his company, Oceanpoint Developments, paid more than $1m to former deputy prime minister Floyd Hall and his Progressive National Party during attempted construction of the Third Turtle Club in the Providenciales.
“We can confirm that Sara Teasdale, of Pannone, is instructed to defend Mr Padgett in relation to the allegations that he faces,” a spokesman for Pannone said.
“It would be inappropriate at this stage of the proceedings to comment in any way as to the detail of these allegations. However Mr Padgett will be responding to these allegations in due course in the appropriate forum, which is the Supreme Court of the TCI.”
It is understood Mr Padgett and eight other people, including Mr Hall and three other ex-ministers, will appear before court again to face various charges including money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the TCI Government.
The charges against Mr Padgett relate to alleged payments uncovered by a Commission of Inquiry in 2009, led by Sir Robin Auld, the UK’s former Lord Chief Justice of Appeal, and concern the Third Turtle Club and Spa.
Last year, TCI newspapers reported Mr Padgett had said he was putting the scheme up for sale, saying he had “no more energy” to continue after spending more than $20m on the project.
Last April, Mr Padgett, who had lived on the island since 2004, sold his $12m mansion, reportedly called Serendib, to American pop star Prince.
The eight-bedroom, six-bathroom ‘mini resort’ had been described as one of the most exquisite properties in the Caribbean.