AL­LEGED DRUG LORDS AND BIL­LION-DOL­LAR FRAUD­STERS – THE CIP -COUN­TRY RE­SPONSE

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT - BY CHRIS­TIAN HEN­RIK NESHEIM, ED­I­TOR - IN­VEST­MENT MI­GRA­TION IN­SIDER

Three pur­ported crim­i­nals have made head­lines for their re­ported con­nec­tions to CIP-coun­tries this week. We’ve sum­ma­rized the stories. Me­hul Choksi – Al­leged per­pe­tra­tor of In­dia’s big­gest ever bank-fraud In­dia’s Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion wants An­tigua & Bar­buda’s au­thor­i­ties – who have con­firmed that the man is a ci­ti­zen of and cur­rently present in the coun­try – to ar­rest and ex­tra­dite Mr. Choksi, who they say is the mas­ter­mind be­hind the big­gest bank-fraud case in In­dia’s his­tory. Choksi’s An­tiguan lawyer says the busi­ness­man is a vic­tim of po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion, that his client has re­ceived no for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the ex­tra­di­tion re­quest, and that, fur­ther­more, con­di­tions in In­dian pris­ons are so poor as to con­sti­tute a human rights vi­o­la­tion. While An­tigua & Bar­buda has promised to co­op­er­ate with any law­ful re­quest from the In­dian gov­ern­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Gas­ton Browne has also said that the mat­ter is for the courts to de­cide, in­sist­ing that due process be ad­hered to. “This idea that they can force us to take any de­ci­sion and go against the laws and con­sti­tu­tion of our coun­try and one in which they are try­ing to force the ex­ec­u­tive to med­dle in the do­main of the ju­di­ciary, that is some­thing that will not be tol­er­ated,” Browne told the An­tigua Ob­server. The case will test An­tigua’s re­solve against the (per­haps il­le­git­i­mate) re­quests of a much larger coun­try, its com­mit­ment and abil­ity to pro­tect the in­alien­able rights of its cit­i­zens, as well the de­gree to which it takes se­ri­ously the prin­ci­ple of due process and divi­sion of po­lit­i­cal pow­ers. What­ever the out­come, prospec­tive ap­pli­cants to the coun­try’s CIP will surely pay close at­ten­tion. Low Taek Jho AKA Jho Low – Al­leged “mas­ter­mind” be­hind Malaysia’s 1MDB money laun­der­ing scan­dal Malaysian au­thor­i­ties are seek­ing Mr. Low’s ar­rest for his pur­ported in­volve­ment in the em­bez­zle­ment of sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars from the Malaysia 1MDB sovereign wealth fund. US pros­e­cu­tors al­lege Low is the brains be­hind the money laun­der­ing/mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion scan­dal, which is still on­go­ing in Malaysia. Sev­eral re­ports have claimed Mr. Low is an eco­nomic ci­ti­zen of Saint Kitts & Ne­vis, claims the gov­ern­ment of that coun­try has nei­ther de­nied nor con­firmed as a mat­ter of pol­icy. The Kit­ti­tian gov­ern­ment, though, has been known to ap­ply this pol­icy se­lec­tively as it did deny sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions when me­dia re­ports in Fe­bru­ary this year spec­u­lated that the above-men­tioned di­a­mond­mer­chant Me­hul Choksi had ob­tained cit­i­zen­ship in their coun­try. Jabir Moti­wala AKA Jabir Sad­diq – Al­leged right-hand-man to Mum­bai mafia-boss The Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment Unit (CIU) of An­tigua & Bar­buda this week de­nied that one Mr. Jabir Moti­wala – some­times known as Jabir Sad­diq – had be­come a ci­ti­zen through its CIP. Moti­wala is ac­cused of be­ing a “key aide” to Kaskar Da­wood Ibrahim, a man wanted not only for build­ing a drug em­pire ri­val­ing that of Pablo Es­co­bar and “El Chapo” but also for acts of ter­ror­ism that in­cluded the 1993 Mum­bai bomb­ings that killed hun­dreds of peo­ple. “The claim is ut­terly false,” said the An­tigua CIU and fur­ther noted that it had “thor­oughly re­viewed its files and con­firms that is has not granted cit­i­zen­ship to any­one by the name of Jabir Moti­wala or Jabir Sid­diq”. The CIU fur­ther chas­tised WIC News, the orig­i­na­tor of the claims, for not seek­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion be­fore pub­lish­ing such a dam­ag­ing claim and also spec­u­lated as to the mo­ti­va­tions for broad­cast­ing it in the first place. “We are left to as­sume that the [uniden­ti­fied] “source” of the claim ben­e­fits in some way from smear­ing An­tigua & Bar­buda’s Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment Pro­gramme,” said the CIU.

Low Taek Jho – al­leged “mas­ter­mind” be­hind Malaysia’s 1MDB money laun­der­ing scan­dal (left); Jabir Moti­wala AKA Jabir Sad­diq – al­leged right-hand-man to Mum­bai mafia-boss (cen­tre); Me­hul Choksi – al­leged per­pe­tra­tor of In­dia’s big­gest ever bank fraud (right)

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