EXCLUSIVE: Kent CEO of Global Investments arrested on international arrest warrant from Thailand
A KENT international businessman is fighting extradition amid allegations he engaged in "unregulated securities and investment business" in Thailand.
Neil Arthur Robbirt, 59, (pictured below) "denies the allegations in the strongest possible terms" and "is contesting the extradition request."
He was arrested in Kent on an international arrest warrant (IAW) from Thailand and the case is now progressing through Westminster Magistrates' Court.
The IAW alleges that "on dates unknown between 2001 and 2006 in the territory of Thailand, he engaged in securities and investments business, when he was not authorised or had permission to do so from the Thai authorities." It says this was contrary to section 19 and 23 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
A lawyer representing Robbirt, from Smarden, in Ashford, Kent, said: "Mr Robbirt denies the allegations in the strongest possible terms.
"He is contesting the extradition request, which is fundamentally flawed on a number of levels.
"He has already submitted a large body of defence evidence to Westminster Magistrates' Court which comprehensively challenges and defeats each and every allegation levelled against him."
The extradition request is in Robbirt's name and does not list any companies.
In 2016 it was reported in Thailand that Robbirt and his business Global Consultant Co, Ltd were the subjects of a criminal complaint by the Thai Securities Exchange Commission to the Royal Thai Police for operating without a licence there.
By December 2016 it was also reported that he contacted clients announcing his departure from Thailand, saying he was looking to spend more time in Africa and Latin America.
His lawyer said his planned departure was not connected to the SEC action and that when he left Thailand he was not aware of the criminal investigation.
She said: "Prior to his departure from Thailand in December 2016, Mr Robbirt was unaware that he was sought for questioning by the Thai police in relation to any criminal investigation."
He had been advising mainly expatriate retirees on investment schemes to put savings into.
It was reported locally at the time that he had advised more than 100 clients to invest into schemes and had received about $500,000 as commission.
The lawyer added: "He and his company were paid by well-established and highly reputable global financial institutions with whom he had and has terms of business, including Standard Bank, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity and lnvestec."
Robbirt had been operating in Thailand since 1994.
In January 2007 he was quoted as a witness to the Bangkok bombings terror strikes. Regarding regulatory issues, the lawyer added: "Mr Robbirt had been in regular contact with the Thai SEC over many years whilst he operated in Thailand including numerous meetings, emails and memoranda between him, his Thai lawyers and the SEC.
"At all times Mr Robbirt was demonstrably keen to comply with all financial regulations, and sought to work with the Thai SEC to formulate a regulatory licence to cover his activities.
"Mr Robbirt and Global Consultants had operated in Thailand for 23 years without incident and had been in regular contact with the Thai SEC for many years regarding licencing in conjunction with (a) their Thai lawyers Watson Farley & Williams, (b) the British Chamber of Commerce and (c) a number of other independent financial advisers (lFAs).
"Mr Robbirt and other lFAs had sought a regulatory licence but were informed by the Thai SEC on a number of occasions that no licence existed to cover advice regarding marketing non-Thai regulated funds to non-Thai nationals, which was the nature of the business concerned."
CEO: Robbirt from a company website picture when he was based in Thailand (Global Investments)
The companies Global Investments (Indonesia) Limited and Global Investments Africa Limited, connected to Robbirt, were identified in the 2016 Panama Papers leak of law firm Mossack Fonseca client information.
His lawyer stressed this did not suggest any impropriety.
She said: "His company was registered offshore in the British Virgin lslands in February 1994 by its original founder majority investors of the business, namely Old Mutual lnternational.
"Furthermore, Mr Robbirt's company Global lnvestments advises clients on investing in offshore regulated funds acting as an introducer only."
He is listed on Linkedin as CEO of Global Investments operating in Africa and Latin America and also CEO of Global Investments Africa and Global Consultants Limited, described as the Global Group.
The Global Investments website says it has offices in Nairobi, Kenya, Mexico City and Pasay City in the Philippines.
The website states: "Global Investments International Limited are proud to be one of the most reputable and well-established names in the financial services industry, providing Wealth Management services to over 3,000 clients since 1994.
"With a keen focus on delivering service excellence, we offer financial planning, private banking and investment management solutions to expatriates, high-net-worth individuals, trusts and family offices across the world."
BAIL: Robbirt must live at this historic Kent Cottage, or inform CPS of any moves within 48 hours (Google)
Court records say it initially requested a security deposit of £100,000, later dropped to £50,000, for Robbirt to be given conditional bail. In an earlier version of this article we reported that Robbirt appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in early October and was remanded in custody until October 8 when he would have been released on conditional bail if he met conditions, including depositing a £50,000 security deposit with the court.
This was based on a court result extract which was published and supplied by the court which stated this.
However, it has since been confirmed by the court that Robbirt was released from custody on October 2 when the security was reduced to £10,000 and paid.
An email from the court said: "I have checked our records and Mr Robbirt was released on October 2 2020 and has been on conditional bail since then.
"On the October 1 2020 he was remanded in custody until October 8 2020, lacking security, however his security was paid on October 2 2020 and a release notice was sent to the prison for his release.
"The security was dropped from £100,000 to £10,000."
At a hearing earlier this month, an earlier imposed electronically-monitored curfew between 11pm and 4am daily condition was also lifted.
Under his conditional bail, his passport has been retained by police and he must reside at his home in Smarden or other addresses within England and Wales provided the CPS is notified within 48 hours of his moving there.
He is not to enter any international travel hub and must keep his mobile phone switched on and fully charged on his person 24 hours a day.
The case was adjourned until September.
This article, first published in October 2020, has been updated with comments on behalf of Mr Robbirt following contact from his lawyer