Mehul Choksi, one of the main suspects in a $2-billion fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank, has been granted an Antiguan passport just days after he cited fears for his life because of a growing number of mob lynchings in India.
Choksi, who is accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank along with his nephew, diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, fled India before the accusations came to light.
He filed a court application on Monday for cancellation of an arrest warrant against him and said he could not disclose his location in public because of the threat to his life.
According to media reports, the fugitive diamantaire has now moved to Antigua from the US and taken the passport of the Caribbean country.
But why the lone island of Antigua of all the places?
A lot has to do with the Caribbean citizenship by investment (CBI) program that have gone on sale due to the devastating effects of the 2017 hurricane.
A CBI program allows you to quickly and legally acquire a second passport by making a donation or investment in that country. In short, you purchase a passport.
Antigua’s passport investment program is currently one of the cheapest and fastest citizenship-by-investment programs in the Caribbean.
Most importantly, citizens are not taxed on local or worldwide income and one does not have to travel to Antigua during the application process.
And then there are the famous Antiguan beaches.
So who qualifies for an Antiguan citizenship?
One of the main criteria to qualify for citizenship is that the applicant must have a high personal net worth, according to the global financial advisory company Arton Capital, which publishes the Passport Index.
A Nielsen study claims that high net-worth individuals (HNIs) represent less than 1 percent of the world’s total population, but together account for more than 40 percent of the world’s total wealth.
To get Antiguan citizenship:
First Published: IST