Antigua Opposition slams citizenship to PNB scam accused Mehul Choksi

Chairman of the United Progressive Party in A&B, pointed to a resolution passed this week in Parliament allowing the CIU to operate offshore bank accounts and to accept payment in cryptocurrencies.

Published: 04th August 2018 04:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2018 08:29 AM   |  A+A-

Mehul Choksi

Jeweller Mehul Choksi (File | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Gisele Isaac, chairman of the United Progressive Party in A&B, pointed to a resolution passed this week in Parliament allowing the CIU to operate offshore bank accounts and to accept payment in cryptocurrencies.

Antigua and Barbuda has become “a haven for fraudsters, money launderers and the like”, and the message being sent to the international business community is, “As soon as you get into problems just buy an Antigua and Barbuda passport,” fumed another Opposition lawmaker. 

According to the CIU, Choksi’s application was subjected to background checks, “which included open source Internet checks, Thompson Reuters World-Check, queries of various sanctions lists, engagement with regional and international intelligence agencies to include INTERPOL as well as contracted 3rd Party due diligence providers. It was only after the results of all of these checks had been received and assessed that a final decision was taken on the application. In no instance was any derogatory information disclosed on the applicant.”  

Other cross-checks included the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List and other such lists, and queries to the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security.

“In the conduct of its due diligence, the CIU received documentation of two instances in which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in 2014 and 2017, opened investigations on a corporate entity owned by Mr. Choksi."

"We requested updates on the status of the investigations and received documentary confirmation, issued by the SEBI stating that in one case, the matter had been satisfactorily closed, and indicating in the other that there is not sufficient evidence to pursue the matter further.  None of these matters is the subject of the current warrants issued by Central Bureau of Investigations in connection with the Punjab National Bank. It was also observed that 2016 Non-bailable Warrant was discontinued in October 2016.”

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