The head of the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP), Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft, has stressed the importance of proper due diligence of applicants to Antigua & Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
Speaking to agents for and managers of the CIP at a conference, yesterday, Lt Col Croft said any action or inaction by those two groups can result in negative consequences for the citizenry.
“With the existing challenge within the region of maintaining correspondent banking relationships, any breakdown of our due diligence processes has the potential to compound the issue by increasing the jurisdiction’s level of perceived risk in the eyes of our international correspondent banks,” he said.
According to the official, if this happens, assumptions may be made that the twin island presents a higher risk to other jurisdictions and that bank accounts held here may be used as mediums for raising, moving, and storing funds that are somehow tainted.
He elaborated, “For example, accounts could be used to launder money, finance terrorist activity, violate sanctions regimes, or support other illicit activities, such as drug smuggling or tax evasion.”
Lt Col Croft, who sits on the CIP Review Committee, cautioned that the resulting de-risking will most certainly undermine all the economic and social benefits that the CIP was established to achieve.
More in today’s Daily Observer.