“We are looking closely at actions that are taken and actions being contemplated by the EU and also by the OECD, so we are monitoring those things,” said Antiguan Ambassador and Citizenship by Investment Board member Colin Murdoch this week, according to the Antigua Observer.
While the country continued to work toward ensuring the Antigua & Barbuda CIP’s momentum, commented Murdoch, government officials were monitoring “threats on the horizon” from international political bodies.
CIP jurisdictions, particularly in the Caribbean but also in Europe and the Pacific, have long been the subject of pressure and attacks from the OECD and the EU), who maintain – despite a plethora of evidence to the contrary – that such programs constitute a “threat to national security” and pose risks relating to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The jurisdictions themselves have responded to such allegations by pointing to the tight scrutiny to which applicants are subject, by demonstrating transparency regarding program procedures, and, in many cases, by implementing mitigating measures to address the ostensible concerns of the EU and OECD.
Such steps of accommodation and appeasement have, thus far, made little difference to the OECD/EU position, an outcome predicted on multiple occasions by commentators on IMI (see related articles in the box below).
- The Truth About RCBI-Programs Doesn’t Matter to the EU, the OECD, or the Guardian
- EU/OECD’s Real Concern About CIPs Is Tax Competition, Not “Good Governance”
- Citizenship by Investment’s Role in Finally Emancipating Former Colonies
- RCBI-Industry Finds Itself in Crosshairs as OECD Continues War on Tax Competition
- OECD-Countries Themselves are the Main Beneficiaries of RCBI-Programs
Instead, the OECD and the EU have punished such states for not submitting to their demands by imposing visa-restrictions and adding CIP-countries to tax haven blacklists.
Murdoch did not offer further details on the specific threats on which he and his colleagues were keeping an eye but said government officials continued to inform the organizations and countries that had expressed concerns of these programs’ high standards of vetting.
“These are issues that we have been addressing and which we will continue to have to address,” commented Murdoch. “And I think the enforcement of professional standards is one of the most important things that we can do to give assurance and comfort to those who are paying attention.”
Bruno L’ecuyer, whose leadership of the Investment Migration Council brings him into frequent contact with the very organizations targeting the industry, indicated that EU and OECD antipathy toward citizenship by investment was politically motivated, rather than driven by objective evaluation of the facts.
“The members of the IMC don’t identify at all with the way some of these politicians in Brussels are labeling the industry because, for the most part, 99.9 percent of these clients are entrepreneurs and normal people that have worked hard in their lives and they simply want to have better travel opportunities. They want a better quality of life,” he said.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.