NEW DELHI: Absconding jeweller Mehul Choksi’s attorney in Antigua and Barbuda, David Dorsett, on Friday confirmed that the businessman was indeed in the Caribbean nation and that he had claimed citizenship to further his business interests.
Choksi had issued a statement on Thursday through Dorsett and he claimed he moved to Antigua “to expand his business in the Caribbean” and “to avail visa free access to 132 countries”.
“Yes, Mehul Choksi is here. We have already issued a detailed statement on the matter. I have been instructed by Choksi not to further engage with the media…,” Dorsett told TOI over phone from his office in St John’s, Antigua.
The fugitive diamantaire refuted allegations by the government in the statement issued through Dorsett and said “there was no truth” in it.
“I can, however, state that I lawfully applied to be registered as a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under the Citizenship by Investment Programme. During the course of my application, I did all that was lawfully required of me to do. My application for citizenship was in due course approved,” his statement said.
Choksi took Antiguan citizenship in November 2017 and oath of allegiance on January 15 this year. “My application was motivated by my desire to expand my business interest in the Caribbean and to obtain visa free travel access to 130 or so countries,” the statement said, adding that he was in the US in January for medical treatment. “Having received treatment, I am still in a state of convalescence. That being the case, Ihave decided to reside in Antigua and Barbuda,” it added.
Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda PM Gaston Browne told some TV channels that India had not approached them on Choksi, while promising all cooperation on the issue.