By Dan Ehrlich
Prime Minister Timothy Harris has been on a good will tour in the oil rich Gulf Emirates promoting, among other things, the controversial St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment scheme.
The controversy deals with US and EU suspicions the programme could be used for illegal activities such as money laundering and income tax avoidance.
The programme, while for and by the Federation, is actually being promoted and advised by a London based firm CS Global Partners,which claims it maintains a clean shop.
CS Global Partners, aside from helping manage and promote the programme also assists prospective clients. And this is where the firm is at odds with the US Government, which claims some clients obtain multiple passports to carry on criminal activities.
The firm claims it has an effective vetting procedure to keep out undesirable applicants.
According a company spokesperson: “The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme takes a multi-layered and rigorous approach when performing due diligence and vetting applicants who seek economic citizenship of the Federation.
‘The due diligence process looks at a number of variables, with comprehensive vetting at a number of points in an applicant’s journey. The moment a potential applicant seeks citizenship through an authorised agent to the programme, due diligence to ensure the person’s legitimacy is factored into the process.
‘The Citizenship by Investment Unit, led by risk management expert previously of IPSA International, has several members of staff with high-level expertise in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) preventative measures. A 24/7 case management system allows applications to be monitored around-the-clock.
‘Applications are also reviewed by third party, international due diligence and risk management firms, who perform on-the-ground checks to verify that every piece of information submitted by the applicant – from educational achievements to family ties – is truthful.
‘Governmental agencies are also used to run checks on sanction lists and other sources. The goal is to identify those involved in criminal and other illicit activity whose actions preclude them from being viable candidates for citizenship.
‘An essential element of this due diligence framework is source of funds. Each applicant must be able to demonstrate where his or her funds are derived from; there must be a clear line indicating a clean origin for moneys supported by documentation such as employment letters and bank statements.’
‘There are also mechanisms in place post granting of the citizenship to ensure that those who offend are dealt with in an appropriate manner, which may include having their passport revoked.”
The fact is there’s nothing illegal about having multiple nationalities. Some wealthy nations such as the USA and UK have similar schemes. In all, CBI programmes worldwide is a $2 billion business.