The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has become aware of statements made in the media and public domain on
26th September 2020 suggesting that 175 CIP passports were given to Mr. Xiao of Fancy Bridge Limited (FBL) in exchange for shares in the West Indies Oil Company
Limited (WIOC). The Unit unequivocally denies the suggestion and or implication that it was party to any such arrangements or that the referenced event occurred.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Unit places on record the following incontrovertible facts. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Fancy Bridge Limited entered into an agreement in June 2015 related to the financing of the purchase of 75% of the ordinary shares held by National Petroleum Limited in the West Indies Oil Company Limited. For a consideration amount of US$29,400,000, the Government and investor agreed that US$15,000,000 would be an advanced payment to the Government, while the remaining US$14,400,000 would provide FBL with 24% ownership of WIOC. The US$15,000,000 was advanced at an interest rate of 6%, per annum for 10 years paid up front, for 120 approved citizenship applications under the National Development Fund (NDF) option. Further, in the event FBL wished to liquidate their ownership, it was agreed that an additional 36 applications would be allowable under the Investment in Business option. Each application would be for a minimum amount of US$400,000. At the time of the execution of the agreement, the investment amount for the NDF option was US$200,000. In October 2017, subsequent to the signing of the agreement, the NDF investment amount was reduced to US$100,000, which in effect increased the number of applications required to repay the advance.
In accordance with the terms of the agreement, all applicants under this arrangement, pay the prescribed fees for due diligence and passport processing and supply all
supporting documentation as required by the Citizenship by Investment Act (2013) its amendments and regulations to the Citizenship by Investment Unit. As is customary with all applications, the CIU conducts its own in-house due diligence review, thereafter contracting the services of internationally recognized private due diligence providers to investigate and confirm the veracity of each applicant’s claims and declarations in their submissions. Additionally, each of the applicants was subject to vetting through law enforcement databases to ensure their suitability for the grant of citizenship.
To date, the Unit has received 143 NDF applications, 114 of which have been successfully processed. Six applications have been denied and another 23 are pending review. As such, more than 60% of the debt/obligation has been retired as stipulated in the terms of the agreement. The Unit, as the agency charged with the management of this component of the agreement, has conducted its affairs with the highest levels of probity and in full compliance with the governing legislation.
At no time were physical passports prepared, processed or given to any person or entity for distribution where the holder of the passport would not have been required to undergo the full vetting and examination of their application. The Unit rejects these claims which are patently false and deliberately misleading and which have the potential to irreparably damage the reputation of the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
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