Lovell says gov’t ignored warnings about Chinese investor

Political leader of the opposition United Progressive Party Harold Lovell (File photo)

Leader of the United Progressive Party Harold Lovell is reminding government that as far back as June 2015 he warned that due diligence must be done on Chinese billionaire, Xiao Jianhua.

Jianhua, who holds an Antiguan passport, was seized from his apartment at the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong, last Friday, and taken to main- land China.

It is alleged that Jianhua is being investigated for corruption, and Lovell said Antigua & Barbuda’s reputation is again on the frontline.

“It is the reputational damage that is done to Antigua. We have recklessly gone after these people and we were warned,” Lovell said.

The UPP leader also brushed aside claims that Jianhua was granted a diplomatic passport under the leadership of the UPP.

“He came into Antigua & Barbuda after the Labour Party was elected. I am challenging the prime minister to come clean,” Lovell said.

“I was in government for 10 years and at no time did I ever hear his name either in Cabinet or otherwise. I am denying it,” Lovell added.

Meantime, Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel Max Hurst said the latest incident will not damage the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.

In fact, Hurst blamed the Opposition United Progressive Party for allegedly trying to politicise the matter.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne  has said his government could soon implement a new policy on diplomatic passports.

He said the changes would include the recall of all diplomatic passports and be replaced with biometric passports.

He said, too, the new policy will also include publication of the list of diplomatic passports issued.

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