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(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – Several reports surfaced online on Monday, stating that the diamantaire was in Antigua, prompting this media house to reach out to the CIU on Tuesday morning.
Responding to OBSERVER media’s query, the unit said that “after extensive vetting, Mehul Choksi was granted citizenship by registration” last year.
The CIU added that Choksi’s application was “subject to robust due diligence international investigation … by reputable agencies….”
They said these agencies included the International Criminal Police Organisation and the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), however, “the 2017 investigation revealed no derogatory information” about the wanted man.
The CIU went on to confirm that after being granted citizenship in November last year, here in Antigua, Choksi swore the Oath of Allegiance to Antigua on January 15, 2018.
The CIU stopped short of saying when the exact timeframe of the due diligence investigations had taken place, but in a Google Search of the wanted man’s name, OBSERVER media was able to find an article by the Economic Times in India dated March 10, 2017 titled ‘SEBI orders investigation into alleged manipulative trading in Gitanjali Gems stocks’.
That story had indicated that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had ordered an investigation into alleged manipulative trading in the stock of the Gitanjali Gems company, of which Choksi is the CEO.
The article said that SEBI reported that the trading infractions dated back to as early as July 18, 2011.
According to news coming out of India, Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, both diamond tycoons, are alleged to have colluded with two employees of the Punjab National Bank in a fraud scheme of over US$1.8 billion.
One widely circulating article from the Times of India online dated July 24, 2018 and headlined, ‘Mehul Choksi has moved to Antigua, taken local passport,’ said Antiguan officials confirmed that Choksi arrived here this month after Interpol issued a diffusion notice to the twin island state.