The CEO of Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment programme, Percival Clouden, issued a circular on July 22 stating that any actions that are taken to reduce the amount of investment by a citizenship applicant below the statutory minimum real estate threshold is illegal and will be investigated accordingly.
Such actions may include agents discounting, as well as rebates or buybacks, actions that defraud governments of revenue.
Furthermore, the circular continued that such actions by developers or project holders, if proven, could lead to revocation of CBI-approved status and “any buyback or rebate prior to the said statutory 5-year holding period is illegal”.
With this circular, the government affirms its strict position on dealing with any illegalities uncovered during the CBI programme process, especially following illegalities and illicit practices discovered with a particular project and company back in 2017.
Sam Bayat, CEO of Bayat Group told Caribbean News Global that this company/project was now being investigated and that “we are seeking the support from our friends regionally and internationally to deal with the proprietors of that particular project because we know that through the programme, they have collected significant sums of money”.
The Grenada government therefore has cracked down on investigating any companies seen to be diverting money away from Caribbean governments and/or any non-legitimate real estate projects.
This quick and decisive action to investigate “the illegal discounting of investment amount for application under section 11” has received positive feedback from many in the CBI industry, including developers, according to Caribbean News Global.
Bayat said that Grenada takes the lead when it comes to unearthing and punishing “agents that [are] manipulating CBI citizenships at way below government-authorised rate structures under the real estate option”, but that more needs to be done by all Caribbean citizens and industry professionals “to call to account and voice their disapproval at fraudulent activities detrimental to the industry, with remedial action”.
Bayat continues: “Governments and CIP units need to carry out a better audit of the money trail to ensure that applicants pay the stated amounts prescribed by CIP legislation.”
Launched in 2013, Grenada’s citizenship by investment programme has upped its reputation stakes in recent years thanks to such bold and decisive government moves in tightening the due diligence processes of its CIP, as well as in ironing out its application processes, with the programme’s improved processing procedures meaning many applicants now receive citizenship 60 business days.
According to the CBI Index 2019 by the Financial Times, Grenada has increasingly placed “greater diligence in authenticating source of funds”.
Grenada’s sophisticated due diligence procedures include in-situ travelling by third-party firms to the applicant’s country of residence or birth.
Becoming a citizen of Grenada requires a minimum outlay of US$150,000 and gives citizens visa-free access to 143 countries, and is the only Caribbean country offering a CIP to offer visa-free access to China as well as allowing dual citizens the ability to work, study and live in the US under the E-2 Investor Visa Treaty.
To find out more about the Grenada citizenship by investment programme, read our Country Profile by clicking here