British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie charged with drug trafficking and money laundering crimes | Scoop News

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The premier of the British Virgin Islands has been charged in the US with drug trafficking and money laundering crimes.

Federal prosecutors in Miami have charged Andrew Fahie and two others with cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracies, the US Justice Department has said.

On Friday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss confirmed the 51-year-old had been arrested in the US.

Ms Truss said she was “appalled” by the allegations and an “emergency meeting of the territory’s cabinet” was due to be held on Friday.

Fahie was held as part of an operation led by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a statement released by British Virgin Islands (BVI) governor John Rankin at the time said.

It comes as an inquiry – not linked to Fahie’s charges or his initial arrest – concluded the BVI should have its constitution suspended, elected government dissolved and effectively be returned to direct rule from London.

aerial view of Sandy Cay in the foreground and Jost Van Dyke in the background, British Virgin Islands
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The BVI report was ordered in 2021 by the British overseas territory’s governor John Rankin

Mr Rankin ordered the report to be carried out to investigate “corruption, abuse of office and other serious dishonesty” within the British overseas territory’s governance.

He explained that British judge Gary Hickinbottom, who led the inquiry, had concluded that “drastic and urgent steps” needed to be taken to stop elected officials from “deliberately ignoring the tenets of good governance”.

Mr Rankin added: “He notes that the people of the BVI deserve better, and that the UK government owes them an obligation to protect them from such abuses and assist them to achieve their aspirations for self-government as a modern democratic state.”

The report recommended any new administrative arrangement should last two years but added that ministerial government should continue “as soon as practicable”.

If London accepts the recommendation, Mr Rankin – a career British diplomat – would take over the day-to-day running of the BVI.

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