Following reports in Gulf News – a widely read publication in the Middle East – about the possible revocation of Saint Kitts & Nevis citizenships obtained through what critics say were illegally discounted real estate acquisitions, the Saint Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) have issued a letter assuring investors their passports are not in peril.
In a statement presumably aimed at Denzil Douglas, former Kittitian Prime Minister and head of the country’s opposition, the Saint Kitts & Nevis CIU writes that the government “considers such reports baseless and the work of propagandists seeking to score personal political and economic gain”.
Douglas has previously stated he would revoke the citizenships of any CIP-investor found to have underpaid for the qualifying real estate.
Clients are very concerned
Another outspoken critic of what he says is inaction on the part of the CIU, Sam Bayat, who heads a major citizenship consultancy and law firm based in Dubai, was quoted several times in the Gulf News article, lamented the lack of oversight and discipline imposed on CBI-advisors.
“Of course, I’m disappointed and sad that this issue has come to the public attention,” said Bayat during an interview with IMI at the Investment Immigration Summit in Dubai this weekend.
Questioned as to whether he had not himself been instrumental in bringing the matter to public attention, Bayat indicated his comments in Gulf News had been a last resort following unsuccessful attempts at engaging with local authorities on the issue.
“We tried for the past year to bring to the attention of some governments that there are actors in this industry offering deals that are just not possible,” said Bayat, who also explained that he had sent copies of illegal promotions to the CIU and the Attorney General without receiving any response.
“It’s simple; either there is
A handful of consultancies with whom IMI has been in touch say the Gulf News article has had a clear effect on client sentiment. Bayat says investors have contacted him as well and that he is concerned more will follow.
“I’ve had several emails and calls where people are concerned about the way they have gone through this process, calling us just to make sure the path they followed was correct. And there have been some cases in which it was not. I think this is the tip of the pyramid [sic] and we’ll probably notice that some people have been duped by some consultants”.