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Grenada denies refunding Ukrainian over passport fiasco

Grenada denies refunding Ukrainian over passport fiasco

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Grenada government Monday dismissed “as total falsehood” a report that a Ukrainian businessman was refunded one million US dollars after he failed to obtain a Grenada diplomatic passport.

“The Government of Grenada views with concern and dismisses as total falsehood, a blogpost by convicted criminal-turned-financial-analyst, one Kenneth Rijock, in which he alleges that Henley and Partners, one of several approved marketing agents of Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), took money from someone with a promise to secure a diplomatic passport from Grenada for that person.

“The Government of Grenada, through the Office of the Prime Minister, under whose auspices lies the CBI programme, categorically refutes any knowledge of this allegation or activity. This blogpost by Rijock is bogus in its entirety.”

Earlier, Henley & Partners in a separate statement said it wanted to place on record “that the allegations made against the firm in a recent blogpost about Caribbean diplomatic passports by the convicted criminal and now self-proclaimed “financial crime expert” Kenneth Rijock are completely without truth or foundation.

“We reject every aspect of this fake story, republished without question or interrogation” by a regional news website.

Grenada, like several other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries provide citizenship to foreign nationals under its CIP in return for making a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of the island.

In his August 20 Financial Crime Blog, Rijock claimed that the un-named businessman made his application through Henley and Partners and wire transferred the money to the company’s account in a Singapore Bank.

The report noted that when Henley and Partners did not provide the passport, it was later discovered that there was no pending application and that a government minister had arranged for a refund of the money.

But in the statement, the Keith Mitchell administration said that it “does not even have a Diplomatic Passport Programme in the first place, and is therefore not in the business of selling Diplomatic passports to anyone.

“Further, the Government of Grenada through its CIP programme, has no knowledge of such a claim levelled against Henley and Partners, outside of this blogpost.”

The statement said it has noted that Henley and Partners have since released a statement “categorically denying all aspects of this report and hinting at legal action against Rijock.

“It is important to note that the source of the report is also an American so-called financier, who has been charged and convicted, spending time in Federal Prison for money laundering. He also has numerous other complaints levelled against him for libel, including a recent lawsuit against him by the Government of Dominica for making similar claims against that country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.

“The Government of Grenada reaffirms its commitment to protecting the integrity of Grenada’s CIP programme, which has been lauded internationally, and most recently by the International Monetary Fund, for being the “Gold Standard for transparency and having a sound legislative framework” among all regional CIP programme,” the statement added.