Mehul Choksi flees to Antigua: UK firm behind Caribbean nation's citizenship-by-investment plan tied to Cambridge Analytica parent

A London-headquartered firm, which designed a citizenship-by-investment programme for Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean nation that is now home to Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud accused Mehul Choksi, has links to Cambridge Analytica's parent company, according to a media report.

Henley & Partners, which has over 30 offices worldwide, claims that the concept of the residency and citizenship-by-investment scheme was created by it in the 1990s, according to its website,

And, according to the The Times of India, Henley & Partners has "close links" to Cambridge Analytica's parent SCL Elections.

"The programmes of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Malta have been designed by Henley & Partners under relevant Government mandates," the newspaper quoted from Henley & Partners' website.

Both Cambridge Analytica and SCL were forced to shut shop in May following the Facebook data harvesting scandal - the firms supposedly worked for politicians and Facebook data was allegedly used to influence voter opinions.

 Mehul Choksi flees to Antigua: UK firm behind Caribbean nations citizenship-by-investment plan tied to Cambridge Analytica parent

Representational image. Reuters.

Meanwhile, Indian government sources on Monday said that the ministry of external affairs (MEA) requested authorities in Antigua and Barbuda to detain fugitive jeweller Choksi after it received information about his move to the Caribbean island.

They said India was in touch with the island nation following reports of Choksi's presence there and that New Delhi has requested authorities there to restrict his movements by land, sea and air.

"As soon as MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) received information of the likely presence of Mehul Choksi in Antigua, our High Commission in Georgetown had alerted the A&B (Antigua and Barbuda) government, in writing and verbally, to confirm his presence in their territory and detain him and prevent his movement by land, air or sea," a government source said.

Cambridge Analytica was founded around 2013 initially with a focus on the US elections, with $15 million in backing from billionaire Republican donor Robert Mercer and a name chosen by future Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon, Reuters quoted a New York Times report as saying.

SCL Group, a government and military contractor that claims it has worked on everything from food security research to counter-narcotics to political campaigns, was founded over 25 years ago.

With inputs from PTI

The Great Diwali Discount!
Unlock 75% more savings this festive season. Get Moneycontrol Pro for a year for Rs 289 only.
Coupon code: DIWALI. Offer valid till 10th November, 2019 .

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2018 18:07:19 IST