News Column

US: St. Kitts citizenship program is being abused

May 22, 2014

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) The U.S. Treasury has alerted financial institutions that some people are abusing a citizenship-by-investment program in St. Kitts & Nevis.

The tiny Caribbean nation offers foreigners a very fast path to citizenship in exchange for a minimum real estate investment of $400,000 or a $250,000 donation. It has long insisted its background checks are thorough.

But the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network says St. Kitts' program is "attractive to illicit actors" because it "maintains lax controls as to who may be granted citizenship." It believes Iranian nationals are continuing to obtain passports through the islands even though St. Kitts announced last year that Iranians were barred.

In a Thursday statement, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas says officials are determining "what changes, if any, should be made to the program."

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Source: Associated Press