The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) is categorically denying claims that it provided Fancy Bridge Ltd., a Chinese company, with 175 passports in exchange for a stake in the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC).
During a press conference Friday morning, October 9, Charmaine Quinland-Donovan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Unit, denied being a party to such an arrangement and that the event ever occurred.
In June 2015, Quinland-Donovan says, the Government entered into an agreement with Fancy Bridge Ltd. It was related to the purchase of 75 percent of the ordinary shares held by National Petroleum Limited in WIOC.
She explains that, for a consideration of US$29.4 million, the Government and the investor agreed that a payment of US$15 million would be advanced.
The balance of US$14.4 million was advanced at an interest rate of 6 per cent, paid up front, for 120 approved Citizenship by Investment Programme applications granted under the National Development Fund option, the CEO adds.
She says the agreement went further to state that if the Chinese company expressed an interest in liquidating its ownership in WIOC, then an additional 36 applications would be permitted under the Investment in Business option.
Each application was for a minimum of US$400,000, she says.
Quinland-Donovan claims that, at the time of the execution of the agreement, the investment amount for the NDF option was US$200,000.
She says the amount was dropped to US$100,000 in October 2017, after the agreement was signed, thus reducing the number of applications required to pay the advance. Based on this agreement, she says, more than 60 percent of the debt has been retired.