The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has expressed its disappointment and concern over a statement reported to have been made by Nirmala Sitharaman, the Minister of Finance of the Government of India, concerning Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme and Mr. Mehul Choksi.
According to the reports by several Indian media outlets, available on the Internet, the Indian Finance Minister stated that several jurisdictions allow “economic offenders to use investment-based schemes to obtain residence or citizenship to escape from legal consequences and underlined the need to deal with such practices”. In particular, the Minister is reported to have drawn attention to the case of Mehul Choksi, who, it is claimed, “surrendered his Indian passport to become a citizen of the Caribbean country Antigua and Barbuda under its Citizenship by Investment (CIP) scheme”.
In a robust response the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, by diplomatic note to the Indian Government, made it clear “that, contrary to the Honourable Minister’s claim, Mr. Choksi did not “surrender his Indian passport to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under its Citizenship by Investment (CIP) scheme”.
The Government set out the facts as follows:
“• Mr. Choksi applied for Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by investment and was subjected to vetting of his background by Interpol which was provided with written and official clearance from the Police authorities in India, attesting that he had no criminal record and was not wanted or being investigated for any crime.