Attorneys for the Government of Antigua & Barbuda have ordered a major online offshore information provider to delete an article that it published, accusing Antigua of of selling economic citizenships to Syrian nationals. Antiguan diplomats have reportedly been inundated with inquiries, from other countries, requesting verification that there is no basis in fact for these allegations.
Most compliance officers are painfully aware that, due to the lack of reliable information from Syria, it is presently impossible to ascertain whether specific Syrian nationals are war criminals, human rights violators, terrorists, or even Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).
The article which offends Antigua claims that Syrians, now armed with Antiguan passports, are using them to enter the US Virgin Islands. Once an individual arrives in an American possession, he or she is deemed to have entered United States territory, and may enter the Continental United States, without passing through US Immigration procedures.
We have previously, here on this blog, covered the allegations that foreign nationals, from countries that are sanctioned by the United States, Such as Iran & Russia, are reportedly obtaining Antiguan passports through the citizenship by investment program. Allegations of large payments made to passports, and of widespread governmental corruption in the passport program, are disturbing, and represent a clear & present danger of possible terrorism.
Compliance officers, who are already displaying caution when dealing with passport holders from the Federation of Saint Kitts & Nevis, due to reports of passport acquisition by high-risk individuals, should consider whether to add Antigua & Barbuda to their list of possible problem jurisdictions. At the very least, they should carefully examine the place of birth of the potential client, to see whether he or she might be holding an economic passport, and therefore be high-risk.