The uproar over the new EU blacklist, emanating from those East Caribbean countries that maintain CBI programs, and were sanctioned for noncompliance, has drawn attention to the possible serious consequences of the EU action. It is also important to point out that many of those EC nations that escaped blacklisting, due to the hurricane, only have a short reprieve, before they are also sanctioned, for all who do not comply by February will be automatically blacklisted.
Is is noteworthy that the international CBI consultancies that market the half dozen East Caribbean programs have not only ignored the potential impact upon their applicants/clients, but moved forward with new, optimistic press releases, for the coming year, or encouraged the jurisdictions to release information, detailing 2017 successes. You better believe that compliance officers, both in North America as well as Western Europe, will take the blacklist actions into account in 2018.
These same international CBI consultancies* do not well serve their clients, on other grounds, specifically:
(1) The international consultancies, who refer to their staff as "legal specialists," do not contain attorney-advisors duly admitted to practice in the island nations they profess to render advice upon.
Many important issues are therefore never covered, such as:
- Does the local court system follow the Rule of Law, or does the ruling party influence the decisions of the judges ?
- International taxation issues, involving both the applicant's current, as well as prospective country of residence or citizenship.
- The current reputation of the specific Eastern Caribbean country, regarding the presence of money laundering & financial crime, and whether local law enforcement agencies ignore it.
- Does the government have the power to revoke the CBI citizenship, and under what conditions ?
(2) The sales staff at these international consultancies may never even set foot in the jurisdiction they are hawking, with the result that their selection for their client may be based upon the amount of commission they earn, rather that the best fit for the specific client, such as possible health consequences of visits, racial, ethnic or religious prejudices of the local population, or travel problems.
(3) More importantly, will the acquisition of a CBI passport from a specific country cause a bull's-eye to be painted upon the client's back, due to a major criminal case in a Western country, or a terrorist action, traced back to the jurisdiction, or disease, or some other untoward event, cleverly overlooked at application time, by the sales staff.
Unless the advisor is an experienced attorney, with hands-on experience in the jurisdiction, and admission to practice in the country being offered, the advice rendered, is, in my opinion, inadequate, and the client may later rue the day he or she sought out the consultancy, due to hidden problems neither previously disclosed, nor discussed, that appear without warning. Unqualified, non-attorney salesmen at international CBI consultancies are not well serving their clients.
* It is submitted that local CBI consultancies in the East Caribbean countries, operated by attorneys admitted in their jurisdiction, are in a better position to advise applicants, especially on legal, political and social issues that directly affect the risk levels applicants should be aware of. Whether each local attorney is properly covering those risk issues with each applicant is not known, as well as whether international tax liability issues are on the agenda.
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