LONDON: SCL Elections, the parent company of scandal-hit Cambridge Analytica, helped fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi get a citizenship of Antigua, a report in The Times of India said. As per the report, London-based firm - Henley and Partners - which helped Mehul get his citizenship has close links with SCL Elections.
Henley & Partners designs, implements and promotes citizenship-by-investment schemes. SCL elections and Cambridge Analytica are linked to Henley & Partners, a report by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee disinformation said.
SCL also reportedly worked for election campaigns in countries where Henley & Partners ran investment programmes. Henley & Partners on its websites introduces itself as the global leader in residence and citizenship planning.
"Wealthy individuals in particular are more cosmopolitan and transnational today than ever before, with roots, networks, assets, properties, and even citizenship spanning multiple countries. In many ways, global connectivity has become an indispensable feature of wealth creation and wealth preservation, and its value will only grow as regional volatility and instability increase," ot states on its website.
The DCMS report quotes: "We were told that, behind much of SCL Elections’ campaigning work was the hidden hand of Christian Kalin, Chairman of Henley and Partners, who arranged for investors to supply the funding to pay for campaigns, and then organised SCL to write their manifesto and oversee the whole campaign process. In exchange, (SCL Group director) Alexander Nix told us, Henley and Partners would gain exclusive passport rights for that country, under a citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programme. Alexander Nix and Christian Kalin have been described as having a ‘Faustian pact’. With the exclusive passport rights came a government that would be conducive to Mr. Kalin and his clients. Alexander Nix told the Committee that, at times, SCL Elections would undertake eight, nine or 10 elections a year, 'and we are not limited by geography, so this really could be from the Caribbean to Asia to Africa to Europe or everywhere'."
Choksi, wanted in the Rs 13,500-crore PNB case along with nephew and diamond trader Nirav Modi, has taken the citizenship of Antigua. India has asked Antigua and Barbuda to detain Choksi and to prevent him from leaving the country.
External Affairs Ministry had asked the Antigua and Barbuda government to confirm Choksi's presence in their territory. "Our High Commissioner is meeting the relevant authorities in the Antigua and Barbuda government today (Monday). We continue to liaise with government agencies here and the government of Antigua and Barbuda," a government source was reported as saying.
However, Henley & Partners refuted the 'unsubstantiated allegations' and claimed that they were not invited to take part in the investigation."Henley & Partners is particularly disconcerted that a UK parliamentary select committee chose to publish claims and allegations relating to our firm and the wider investment migration industry without making any effort to contact or engage with either ourselves or the relevant industry body, the Investment Migration Council," it said.
"We wish to make it very clear that Henley & Partners does not have, and never has had, any formal working relationship with SCL or Cambridge Analytica. We believe that the interaction between our firm and SCL has been consistently, and at times deliberately, misrepresented by certain parties. The truth is very simple: Henley & Partners was advising governments in the Caribbean on citizenship-by-investment at the same time that SCL was active in the region. It is therefore natural that there would have been a certain amount of interaction among the numerous advisors and consultants. It is entirely incorrect, however, to suggest that Henley & Partners was a formal partner to SCL in any way," it added.