Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
For years, members of the notorious terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company racket have been obtaining citizenship in Dominica by paying handsome cash as well as bribing Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his top adviser Anthony Astaphan (Tony). In fact, Tony is the man who would handle the citizenship issues and help his client Roosevelt Skerrit in smuggling-out millions of dollars to his hidden bank accounts.
Astaphan the ghost of Goebbels and Rasputin
In today’s Dominica, people would whisper the name of Anthony Astaphan as he is considered as the “power behind the throne” or country’s “Mad Monk Rasputin” or dictator Skerrit’s Goebbels. Tony’s father Waddy Astaphan arrived in Dominica from Surinam as a Dutch citizen, as Dominica was still a colony of the Netherlands. His sister, Genevieve M. Astaphan is a Dutch citizen and had admitted as such to a number of her friends in Dominica. Tony too is allowed to visit the United States without visa, which evidently proves, he must also be holding a Dutch citizenship. Now, under the law of the Netherlands, dual citizenship is forbidden, meaning, Anthony Astaphan has been violating the Dutch law and is liable of punishable offense.
It may be noted that Tony Astaphan was the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Dominica, which was later given to his sister Genevieve Astaphan when he moved to Florida.
Whenever anyone has asked Tony if he was holding a Dutch passport, he has always avoided the response.
Skerrit and Tony under US radar
Last year, an overseas office of an American Federal law enforcement agency was asked to investigate Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his adviser Anthony Astaphan for their involvement in diplomatic passport scam. It was reported in the media that Skerrit and Astaphan had issued diplomatic passports to various dubious individuals in exchange of huge amount of money. It is even alleged that several members of notorious terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company too had been issued diplomatic passport by Skerrit and Astaphan and those members of the D-Company racket are using diplomatic identities in running transnational drugs trafficking activities. Some of the passports were even issued to members of Hezbollah and other Islamist militancy groups.
Dominica has been the subject of international media attention in the recent years, primarily due to controversy over the alleged sale of a large number of Dominica diplomatic passports to a number of Iranians, Chinese, Russians, Pakistanis, Arabs and other nationals from high-risk countries, some of whom have been arrested, on a variety of charges, in several countries. There are concerns that Dominican passports have been sold to North Korean government agents, after a CNN investigative story disclosed that a Chinese recipient of a Dominican diplomatic passport was acting for a sanctioned state-owned North Korean Bank.
Crimes committed by Dominica’s corrupt conglomerate
When a compliance officer examines a passport presented by an individual seeking to initiate a relationship with his bank, should the prospective customer’s country be one of those engaged in the sale of economic citizenships, through a Dominica Citizenship by Investment program, also known as CBI or CIP, he knows to immediately examine the place of birth of the passport holder. Should the birthplace be outside the country where he claims citizenship, compliance knows to initiate enhanced due diligence, for absent the remote possibility that the holder is a naturalized citizen, the odds are that he is holding a CBI passport, which substantially increases the level of risk in accepting the individual as a customer.
Now, however, we have learned that corrupt officials in the Commonwealth of Dominica are selling not only CBI passports, but birth certificates that falsely attest that the holder was actually born in Dominica. This tactic means that compliance officers can no longer be assured that they are dealing with a genuine Dominica national, making the birthplace inquiry moot. CBI passport purchasers are also getting drivers’ licenses, and other secondary identification, to back up their spurious birth certificate and passport; Do not accept this fraud.
As the result, we must, regretfully, advise that hereafter ALL individuals who present passports from the Commonwealth of Dominica must be subject to enhanced due diligence procedures, prior to account opening, with no exceptions. If this proves to be too costly, or too time-consuming, you are advised to blacklist all nationals from that country, and decline to open new accounts for any Dominica national, as the risk is simply too great that you will be banking a career criminal, corrupt foreign government official or PEP, or terrorist financier.
In Dominica people can change their names and identity
Dominica’s Capital Immigration, a CBI consultancy has its office in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, that markets directly to Iranian, Pakistani and dubious Arabs and there are Iranians working in the office.
The website of Capital Immigration explains how CBI clients can take advantage of Dominica’s Deed Poll Law, and may legally change their name one year after obtaining their CBI passport. One final note – the website even advises that the client’s previous legal name will not appear on their passport – meaning, all of their past criminal track records can be simply wiped-off.
This is exactly why notorious terrorist, who is amongst most wanted individuals of the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) had chosen Dominica as the safe haven for shifting few of his trusted aides. Dawood has established connections with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit by appointing Anthony Astaphan as his “legal adviser”. As a greedy Tony later came to know about Dawood’s multi-billion-dollar transnational drugs trafficking activities, he and Skerrit had no problem in joining hands with this most dangerous man and even had offered to cover D-Company operatives with diplomatic passports.