Grenada: US blog claims new evidence in ‘$1 million passport’ fiasco

A US-based blog has revisited claims that a Ukrainian businessman was charged US$1 million for a Grenadian diplomatic passport, less than four months after the scandal first emerged.

This time the blogger says that new information “obtained through an official source in Dominica” is evidence that it “caused a panic”.

In the latest post on the matter, a series of text messages purportedly between Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and chairman of the country’s citizenship by investment scheme, Kaisha Ince, are listed.

The blogger warns that two further posts are on their way covering “official misconduct in Grenada” and that the content is “extremely disturbing.”

WIC News has emailed the press secretary of the prime minister for comment but are yet to get a response.

Reports first surfaced in August that a European businessman attempted to buy a diplomatic passport from either Grenada or Antigua and Barbuda.

After he failed to receive the document he made personal inquiries to the countries in order to get his money refunded.

At the time WIC News was in the process of investigating the story after being passed a screenshot that appears to show a US$1 million money transfer.

Both the government of Grenada and an intermediary citizenship firm denied any wrongdoing.

In June, a reporter met with MP Alexandra Otway-Noel in Grenada and she did have emails on her phone from a representative of the businessman.

She was responsible for the citizenship by investment programme before she resigned her ministerial position in January.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing on Otway-Noel’s part, and her email responses only indicate that she received the message and would look into the matter.

Rocky year for economic citizenship

WIC News understands that the question of a diplomatic passport refund first reached Caribbean governments in October 2016, when Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, was contacted.

Browne was quick to deny any involvement, and emails show attention then moved to securing a refund from Grenadian officials.

The country has been caught up in diplomatic passport scandals in the past.

A 2006 diplomatic cable shared by Wikileaks demonstrates a number of occasions the United States doubts the legitimacy of Grenada’s diplomats.

One section of the cable is titled “How Much Does it Cost to be a Grenadian Diplomat?”.

And in early November WIC News reported that Grenada’s access to the USA through the E2 visa scheme could be revoked in what would be a major blow to the citizenship by investment programme’s offering.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WIC News always attempts to contact the government for comment when stories are relevant. This will continue to be the case. So far they have failed to respond to requests to put their side forward despite repeated invitations sent a number of email addresses – including those listed on the government’s official website.

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