The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has this afternoon confirmed to OBSERVER that, Mehul Choksi, an Indian billionaire businessman wanted for alleged fraud in India, was granted Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship in November 2017.
Several reports surfaced online this week, stating that the wanted man is presently in Antigua, prompting this media house to reach out to the CIU.
In its response, the CIU stated that “after extensive vetting, Mehul Choksi was granted citizenship by registration in November 2017.” The statement added that his application was “subject to robust due diligence international investigation” and that “the 2017 investigation revealed no derogatory information.
“The CIU also confirmed that after being granted citizenship in November last year, Choksi swore the Oath of Allegiance in Antigua on January 15, 2018.
One widely circulating article on the Times of India online dated July 24, 2018 and headlined, ‘Mehul Choksi has moved to Antigua, taken local passport’ states that Indian law enforcement have been informed by official sources in Antigua and Barbuda that the wanted man arrived here this month but OBSERVER has not confirmed this.
Interpol is also reportedly involved in the investigation according to several online sources.
Mehul Choksi is a diamond tycoon who is wanted for a US $2.1 billion fraud scandal in India known as the Punjab National Bank Fraud Case.
Choksi is 59-years-old and is the owner of the Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores in India.
OBSERVER emailed the CIU, the government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst, the Office of Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, and the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) this morning requesting statements in regard to the Choksi development but the only response so far has come from the CIU.
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