Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Saturday, March 4, 2017

THE REAL REASON WHY CLIENTS GET ECONOMIC PASSPORTS



For years, the proponents of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment programs have patiently explained how important it is to obtain a passport from a Commonwealth of Nations jurisdiction, as you then have visa-free access to all the Independent countries of of the former British Empire. While this is indeed true, there is a much darker reason why wealthy foreign nationals, whose wealth may have come from corruption, organized crime, and even terrorist financing, are often determined to obtain that prized economic passport.

The most important reason an affluent foreign national has, to obtain a economic passport, is that he or she will then be able to present that passport, and open an account, in a bank secrecy jurisdiction, and thereafter move assets, of suspicious provenance,  swiftly into that account. Recent whistleblower disclosures, from Switzerland, documents $40m in a Swiss branch of an international bank, headquartered in the UK, indicate that most of that money was owned by foreign nationals, holding passports from Dominica. Only a tiny minority were "real" Dominicans, with citizenship by virtue of their place of birth.

Understand it from the money launderer's perspective; his job is to keep his client's dirty assets out of the hands of law enforcement. Inquiries, made to an international  bank, may come bank empty, if the client is neither a national of the country making the inquiry, and especially if the client has managed to make a small change in the wording of his legal name, in way that now appears in the Dominican passport. Money launderers are smart individuals, and understand the limitations of a computer name search. If the client's name on the account is not exactly or precisely his true name, such a search is fruitless, as it returns a negative.

Therefore, before you conclude that foreign nationals, especially those from the Middle East, and from nations named as State Sponsors of Terrorism, only want that Dominican passport to travel to Canada, as tourists, understand that there is a much darker reason that they need that document; to hide dirty money. 

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