by Linda Straker
Kaisha Ince, Chairman of the Grenada Government Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme has denied reports that a Ukrainian businessman was refunded US$1 million after the country failed to sell him a diplomatic passport.
“This information is false; we do not sell diplomatic passports. Grenada doesn’t have a diplomatic passport-selling programme. What we have is a Citizenship by Investment programme and the passport provided under that programme is a regular passport,” said Ince who is also a legal and commercial advisor to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.
“What is provided to persons who satisfy our due diligence process is a regular passport,” she said. Grenada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has also confirmed that only persons with diplomatic portfolios working on behalf of the government are holders of diplomatic passports.
In his 20 August 2017 Financial Crime Blog, Kenneth Rijock claimed that the businessman made his application through Henley and Partners and wire transferred the money to the company account in a Singapore Bank. He was to get the passport from either Grenada or Antigua but when the Henley and Partners did not provide passport, personal inquiries were made, and it was discovered that there was no pending application in Antigua, while a Grenada Government Minister arranged for a refund of the money.
Grenada receives a continuous flow of applications through its local agents, but because no name was mentioned in the article, the government official said that they are unable to confirm or deny that an application was made by the alleged Ukrainian. The article said that the businessman’s name will not be made public, but will be provided to any law enforcement agency to do an investigation.
An authorised international marketing agent for the CBI programme, Henley & Partners website described it as is the global leader in residence and citizenship planning. It is one of many companies authorised as an international agent for the Grenada CBI programme.
According to the Grenada CBI website, the first step in applying for citizenship is choosing an Authorised International Marketing Agent. Applications for citizenship may not be submitted directly to Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Committee (CBIC) and must only be handled by agents. Applicants must contact an Authorised International Marketing Agent, who in turn will liaise with an Authorised Local Agent. According to the CBI website, applicants should not contact Authorised Local Agents directly.
Each application is vetted by the government through a thorough due diligence background check, during which time submitted information is examined and verified. The CBIC considers application files in light of this due diligence check and then issues a recommendation about the application. Final approval is in the hands of the Minister, who generally follows the CBIC’s recommendation.
Under the programme, citizenship can be accessed via the National Transformation Fund (NTF) or through approved real estate projects. A single applicant for the NTF is US$200,000 while projects cost is US$350,000.