It was bound to happen, sooner or later, according to attorneys and experts who claim the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs administered by five East Caribbean states are fatally flawed. The grantor jurisdictions, after receiving large payments for citizenship, many in the millions of dollars, have summarily revoked those rights of nationality and citizenship, which is inconsistent with Western concept that such rights are permanent, and obligate the grantor to protect the recipient.
Caribbean Island of Antigua PM Gaston Browne
A CBI passport holder, in this case, the billionaire Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi, has brought a civil suit against Charles Fernandez, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who holds the portfolio of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU). These two individuals are responsible for the awarding of Antiguan citizenship via the CBI program, and for entering orders of extradition.
(Image courtesy India Today)
While the details of the new lawsuit have not yet been made public, attorneys for Choksi have obtained an expedited hearing on the matter; it has been set for November 14, 2018, before a High Court Judge. The Deputy Solicitor General has notified the Prime Minister, according to the memorandum appearing above. Is Choksi demanding that Antigua refuse to extradite him to face criminal charges in India? Is he seeking damages? We cannot say at this point, but given that the hearing is in two days, we may soon learn more about Choksi's claim. He fears that Antigua will allow his extradition to India, and may revoke his citizenship and Antigua passport(s).
Citizenship is permanent and irrevocable, unless the individual engages in treason, or takes up arms with an enemy country. If a court of competent jurisdiction in the Caribbean holds that a CBI passport holder's rights cannot be terminated, then the whole CBI house of cards may come tumbling down, and applicants, fearing the temporary nature of CBI, will stop coming. Without CBI money to pump up their treasuries, the East Caribbean states might run out of money to pay the salaries of their government officials and staff.
We will be closely monitoring all developments in this case, as they occur, and report them back to our readers on this blog.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant