Financial fraud accused Mehul Choksi has now claimed that he become a citizen of Caribbean island Antigua in November 2017 for expanding his business, Economic Times has reported. Antigua is known for providing visa free travel to 132 countries and freedom from extradition. Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted in connection with a Rs 13,000 crore financial fraud against Punjab National Bank.
As per the report, a statement made by Choksi appeared in an Antigua newspaper where he claimed that he has become the country’s citizen via its investment program. In the statement Choksi claimed that, he took this decision to expand his business in the Caribbean and take advantage of visa free travel for 132 countries. He also claimed that he had gone to the US for medical treatment in January.
According to claims made by Republic TV, Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has confirmed his presence in the country. With regards to him being given a citizenship, Browne claimed that it was extended to him when there was no Interpol’s red corner notice against him. He also claimed that there was no adverse information floating about regarding Choksi, when he applied for a citizenship.
When asked about the future course of action, Browne asserted that they have an obligation to cooperate with the Indian authorities but conceded that the process will be complicated as he is now a citizen. India has no extradition treaty with Antigua but Browne assured that they would do whatever can be done.
With regards to Choksi’s whereabouts, Browne claimed that the Indian government had raised a similar query and that the fraud accused had indeed paid a visit to the Island and might still be living there.
Incidentally this revelation about his Antigua citizenship comes a few days after Choksi’s appeal against a non-bailable warrant claimed that he was afraid to come back to India as he fears he might be lynched by a mob.