Tuesday 24th July, 2018-The Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit has confirmed that an Indian national, allegedly on the run and accused of bank fraud is the holder of an Antigua and Barbuda Passport.
In a statement, CEO Charmaine Donovan said while she is unable to make any authoritative comments on the matter detailed in a Times of India article, she can confirm that “after extensive vetting, Mehul Choksi was granted citizenship by registration in November 2017.”
Mr. Choksi’s application Donovan noted “was subject to robust due diligence international investigation, which is conducted on each principal applicant and dependent, by reputable agencies, including the International Criminal Police Organization and the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).”
“The 2017 investigation revealed no derogatory information about Mr. Choksi,” the CEO noted. The CIU also confirms that on 15th January, 2018 Mr. Choksi swore the Oath of Allegiance in Antigua, a requirement under the provisions of the Citizenship by Investment Act.
According to the Times of India, Mehul Choksi, a diamond dealer is accused of cheating public sector banks of several thousand Crore Rupees and fled India seven months after to the United States en route to Antigua.
The article detailed that last month, Centre’s probe agency Enforcement Directorate told a Mumbai court that both Choksi and his nephew should be declared as “fugitive economic offenders” and their assets worth Rs. 3,500 crores confiscated.
Mehul Choksi has refused to return to India, saying he would be killed by mobs if he was brought back.
His appeal for a cancellation of the non-bailable warrants against him, read: “There have been various cases of mob lynching in India… Even the applicant faces a similar threat as there are several persons who have grievances and anger against him (Mehul Choksi).”
The application said Mehul Choksi is concerned that his former employees and debtors may harm him, and he would not be safe in jail from other inmates either.