By Kenneth Rijock
When the nations of the Eastern Caribbean issue passports to Iranian nationals, only to gain clearly excessive fees, not all of which have been accounted for, the United States, and indeed the free world, suffer increased threats to national security, as those passports have facilitated more effective oil sanctions evasion and covert purchase of dual-purpose goods to be used in prohibited WMD and ballistic missile programs.
Kenneth Rijock is a banking lawyer, turned career money launderer for ten years, turned compliance officer specialising in enhanced due diligence, and a financial crime consultant. His autobiography “The Laundry Man” was published in the UK on 5 July 2012
Every time an Iranian national uses his economic passport in furtherance of Iran's WMD program, the world gets just a little bit closer to nuclear war, which does not seem to be a concern to the leadership of those Eastern Caribbean countries who sell passports for cash.
All you have to do is look at last week's developments, for clear examples of the problem:
(1) Dominica's scandal: Due to the incestuous friendship, between Prime Minister Skerrit and Alireza Monfared, a known Iran oil sanctions evader, Iran was able to evade international sanctions and sell its oil, earning profits that certainly contributed to expanding its WMD and ballistic missile programs.
(2) St Kitts and Nevis' latest passport black eye, the latest among many which it has experienced: Kambiz Rostamian, an Iranian national known to be participating in ballistic missile development, since 2011.
When Iran moves closer to nuclear capability, the world become less safe. With respect to the United States, it represents a clear and present danger, even an existential threat, and one cannot expect the US to sit by and allow economic passports sellers to benefit.
In Dominica, the opposition has estimated that $50 million in illegal profits is somewhere, in the hands of those who are selling diplomatic passports. Over in St Kitts, questions have been raised, regarding certain grants of CBI funds to Kittitian businesses.
The lure of corruption, caused by these lucrative programs, appears to be too enticing for those who have access to funds.
Finally, do not think that the United States, under the new Trump administration, will not respond. Do you really want to see more correspondent relationships with New York banks, disappear? Retain these dodgy programs at your own risk, Caribbean leaders. While we will not see another Grenada invasion, expect a response that could severely affect the local picture, which is already bleak, and may further injure the people you are supposed to be guiding towards economic progress.