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Indian authorities need to investigate the cases of money laundering

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Indian authorities need to investigate the cases of money laundering

Anita Mathur

In November 2016, Dominica’s independent newspaper The Sun had exposed Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s selling of diplomatic passports, although it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Individuals such as Vladimir Antonov, Rudolph King, Roman Lakschin, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Ng Lap Seng, Francesco Corallo; Bobby Jones; David Shiu; Frantisek Savov; Didier Vidal; Claude Skalawski; Graeme Christopher Thomson; Jonathan Brown; Alireza Zibahalat Monfared; Rebecca Chang, the daughter of Grace Tung; Paolli Zampoli and Christos Vardkos and many others purchased diplomatic passport directly from Roosevelt Skerrit, while meetings for bargain on the prices were arranged by Skerrit’s agents in London, Dubai, New Delhi and Beijing.

The other diplomatic passport holders include Susan Oldie and Christopher Thomson of the Cayman Islands; Eric Torner; Roman Lakschin in favor of whom Dominica filed a case against Switzerland at the International Court of Justice in 2006 to restore his diplomatic credentials in Switzerland; Serge de Thibault de Boesinghe; Bobby Wahi; Timothy Cornwall of the UK as special envoy to Qatar and Iran; Leroy Parris, the Barbadian at the head of the failed CLICO Insurance and who is fighting a court battle to have a EC$6 million bank account unfrozen; Francesco Corallo; Bobby Jones; David Shiu; Frantisek Savov; Didier Vidal; Claude Skalawski; Graeme Christopher Thomson; Jonathan Brown; Alireza Zibahalat Monfared; Rebecca Chang, the daughter of Grace Tung; Paolli Zampoli and Christos Vardkos.

Most of the buyers of the diplomatic passport of Dominica are either members of various crime rackets or corrupt individuals, drug dealers and even Islamist jihadists. Most importantly, the ruling elites of Dominica are directly involved in selling diplomatic passports to various individuals.

Rudolph King, for example, who was appointed as ambassador to Bahrain, was jailed in the United States for filing a false claim with the American Internal Revenue Service.

Vladimir Antonov, a Russian national, whose personal wealth was estimated at over EC$800 million and who was appointed as a special envoy of Dominica, is a fugitive on the run after a court in Britain ruled to have him extradited to Lithuania to face fraud charges.

Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Nigerian minister who was appointed as ambassador and commissioner for trade and investment, was arrested in Britain on suspicions of bribery and money laundering.

Ng Lap Seng, a billionaire from Macau who was appointed as ambassador at large, has been accused of a litany of unsavory deeds and has been held in the US on bribery charges.

“This gets very disturbing,” perennial government critic Athie Martin told Dominica’s independent newspaper The Sun.

Dominica’s foreign affairs minister Francine Baron declined an opposition request to name foreigners who are holders of Dominican diplomatic passports. She contended it would not be in the interest of the country’s foreign relations.

This is in stark contraction to the recent statement by the prime minister that his government was the most transparent in the Caribbean and it makes it more worrying.

It is indeed a travesty that the people of Dominica do not even know who represents them abroad. Furthermore, the government feels no obligation whatsoever to inform parliament of the numerous persons they have provided with passports. And, they have appointed many foreigners of questionable character to diplomatic representation roles and also issued them and others not in representational roles with diplomatic passports.

The case of Timothy Sylvester

The Prime Minister of St Kitts & Nevis, Timothy Sylvester Harris, has denied holding a diplomatic passport issued by the Commonwealth of Dominica, though a copy had appeared on several Caribbean media websites, but the authenticity of the passport has never been disputed by any senior official in Dominica. In fact, the Government of Dominica has been strangely silent regarding the subject, when the normal response would be to either confirm or deny that the document is genuine, and issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It would take Dominica five minutes to examine & reject the document, and the failure to do so speaks volumes regarding the truth. Check the passport number, please, and respond.

At this point, it might be helpful to remember that the Foreign Minister of Dominica has repeatedly refused to publish a comprehensive list of all the 500+ diplomatic passport holders, claiming that to do so would hinder the abilities of these “diplomats” to perform their functions quietly. The problem is that all the foreign diplomatic passport holders are neither properly qualified, nor certified by any accepting jurisdiction where they are posted. In short, these foreign buyers of diplomatic passports are legally unqualified to be regarded as diplomats, as they fail to meet the terms of the Vienna Convention.

Although Dominica’s foreign ministry said the number of sold diplomatic passports are above five hundred, but the actual number is much higher. Diplomatic passports were issued to Iranians, Chinese, Nigerians, Chinese working for North Korea, and others from high-risk countries.

Dominica’s diplomatic passport for Khalistan movement members

According to credible sources, in addition to hundreds of Indian nationals buying citizenship of Dominica and smuggling-out millions of dollars, in recent years some members of the Khalistan movement have already purchased diplomatic passport from the Caribbean island nation with the help of its agent in London.

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