By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada – It is an open secret that discounting and Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) financing schemes allowed by certain Caribbean Islands, undersell the country that allows it to take place.
This has created a complex mechanism that plausibly, violates US and international law; and created an explosion in certain markets for CBI applications.
The effect of discounting and financing CBI schemes is an increase in applicants with much lower net worth and motives. Two issues arise: Applicants pay a fraction of the legal price – thus – more units/passports are required.
Concealment of material fact is often referred to as failure to disclose or partial disclosures of information required on an application form, which ought to be within the knowledge of one party of which the other has no actual or presumptive knowledge. It is also referred to as a false statement – the acts of making false statements, falsifying, concealing or covering up – are essentially identical concepts and often result from falsification.
Caribbean News Global (CNG), via telephone on Saturday, November 18, 2023, spoke with MSR Media SKN Ltd., Philippe Martinez, who “served formal notice regarding certain actions under the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program,” under the previous administration.
“ This is not a political attack on anyone,” Martinez said. ” This is an action to end illegal schemes in the CBI industry. We have hours of audio and video to prove in US court, how the system went wrong. We have also traced the bank accounts where the money was sent offshore, instead of being put in escrow,” he said.
The conceivable benefit to the CBI islands’ and more directly the people’s recovery of assets held in foreign jurisdictions; and holding to account violators of CBI and US Laws – have often been the focus of conversations for years.
But, until now, the difference between conversations and admissible evidence in US courts on aspects of plausible violations of US Law has conceivably been the focus of a team of experts for seven months, credit MSR Media SKN Ltd.
“ It’s a matter of maths, creating real jobs,” Martinez told CNG. “Follow the money. Where and who is CBI benefiting?” Martinez continued: “Have the respective CBI Islands built real infrastructure? NO! responding to his question. “Did some people become millionaires overnight? YES, said Martinez.
The equalizer lies in many examples of unfinished and abandoned CBI projects, the secrecy of CARICOM passport distribution vs revenue, (illegal discounting, concealment of material facts) and the benefits purported to the respective islands relative to education, health, infrastructure and economic viability.
Martinez, in his letter, said in part:
“On May 6, 2022, under your governance, MSR Media SKN Ltd was approved for the CBI program’s ‘alternative investment option’ at the legal price of US$200,000 per share. During your interactions with our American investors, you represented the CBI program as being transparent, the best in the Caribbean, and compliant with the law regarding the share price of US$200,000.”
“Several months ago, I relocated to the United States to initiate an international investigation with MSR Media’s team of experts into the ‘finance and discounting schemes‘ in the CBI program that occurred under your administration and management. The result of this investigation has revealed numerous potential violations of United States laws including fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.”
“November 15, 2023, Mark Brantley, a member of your government at the time we are referring to, publicly admitted that during your administration thousands of citizenship shares were illegally sold at prices that were a fraction of the legal rate which was represented to the international community. Brantley also stated in his radio/video broadcast that he discussed during cabinet sessions that your actions were illegal.”
“Be informed that all your public statements are being thoroughly analyzed by our investigation team in the United States. You have misrepresented the legal value of the CBI shares to MSR Media and American investors, claiming a value of US$200,000, while establishing a fraudulent network to sell shares of other projects at a fraction of their legal price, especially concerning the jail project.“
“For the past several months, MSR Media has been formally delivering all evidence of your fraudulent activities to the United States Government.”
“Brantley’s stunning revelation comes much later after he left the previous administration,” noted Martinez.
On 25 February 2023, the US-Caribbean roundtable deliberated the challenges faced by Caribbean CBI programmes and discussed opportunities that would enable the programmes to thrive in Antigua and Barbuda – Dominica – Grenada – Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.
The six principles agreed to are:
Collective agreement on treatment of denials: Not to process applications from persons whose applications have been denied in another CBI jurisdiction, by proactively sharing information on denials.
Interviews: Conduct interviews with applicants, whether virtual or in person.
Additional checks: Each jurisdiction will run checks on each application with the Financial Intelligence Unit of its respective country.
Audits: Audit the programme annually or every two years in accordance with internationally accepted standards.
Retrieval of passports: Request law enforcement assistance to retrieve revoked/recalled passports.
Treatment of Russians and Belarusians: Suspend processing applications from Russians and Belarusians. All jurisdictions have already implemented this change.
New changes have been made to the St Kitts and Nevis CBI program established in 1984, the oldest of its kind in the world.
Martinez has commended Dr Terrence Drew, affirming: “Drew has come true.”
“Thanks to Dr Drew’s administration these “financing schemes” are no longer in St Kitts and Nevis,” Martinez continued. “I highly suggest that the governments of CBI programs that still allow – should pay attention to our legal actions in the United States. They will realize that these schemes are conceivably in violation of US laws.”
In a press release announcing further monumental changes to CBI, prime minister Dr Drew, said: “Since coming into office [less than a year ago], I have sought to work with well-intentioned partners who share my vision of where we can take our island nation on the global stage. We have done everything in our power to protect and advocate for the good name of St Kitts and Nevis. We have continuously instituted changes that will not only alleviate the concerns of our international stakeholders and position us as a compelling emerging market destination for authentic foreign direct investment, but these changes are also aimed at ensuring that our people continue to be proud to be called a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis.”
Time is not on the side of participating CBI jurisdictions that are further subject to the growing “phenomenon” of “illegal discounting” wittingly and/or unwittingly falling prey to the “concealment of material facts.”
The warning sign suggests Caribbean Islands that allow CBI schemes should be nervous.
The sophistication of amalgamated databases, AI, biometrics recognition software, and investigative tools have improved methods and procedures to uncover the concealment of material facts that reference international law.
“Caribbean Islands that allow discounting and financing CBI schemes,” Martinez advised, “should pay attention to the violations these schemes are creating in international law.”