September 22, 2021

Citizenship consultants file defamation claim

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From Caribbean News Now

DUBAI, UAE — On May 28, 2017, global citizenship consultants Arton Capital initiated legal proceedings for alleged defamation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against the Investment Migration Council (IMC) and its UAE representative office CI Businessman Services (which operates under the name Citizenship Invest).

Arton Capital has partnered with the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia, along with other countries around the world, in relation to their citizenship by investment programmes, as well as advising more than 5,000 investors on investment programmes that empower global citizenship.

In December 2016, IMC, Transparency International (Hungary) and Dr Boldizsár Nagy published a report entitled “In whose interests? Shadows over the Hungarian Residency Bond Program”, which is, in Arton Capital’s view, defamatory, contains false information and has caused serious reputational damage to the firm’s business.

Arton Capital contends that the spread of this false information forms part of a broader smear campaign that it believes is intended to damage its reputation within the industry.

Arton Capital said it has spent more than a decade building a reputation of trust with governments around the world, as well as building the investment migration community.

“Arton Capital takes its reputation extremely seriously and will take all necessary steps to correct falsehoods and protect its hard-won reputation for trust and diligence. The founders of the company are committed to driving forward the highest standards of best practice, regulation, and governance for the industry,” the firm said in a press release on Monday.

IMC is a Geneva-based self-proclaimed oversight association for investor migration and citizenship-by-investment prominently backed by Henley & Partners, another consultancy firm active in the Eastern Caribbean economic citizenship programmes.

Earlier this year, Henley & Partners came under fire for its perceived involvement in a controversial “60 Minutes” investigative programme aired by the US television network CBS on January 1, which focused on the citizenship by investment programmes (CIP) operated by three out of the five Caribbean islands that offer such programmes.

It was alleged that Henley, whose chairman Christian Kalin appeared prominently in the broadcast, was behind the production of the programme in the first place, although the firm later denounced the broadcast as “one-sided”.

However, according to one industry insider, Henley & Partners apparently forgot that they invited the 60 Minutes producers to one of their citizenship conferences in Dubai in order to initiate the report.

A number of resignations earlier this year from IMC’s advisory committee were, according to one resigning member, prompted by, amongst other things, the controversial 60 Minutes report in January that was a “PR disaster” and made the citizenship industry look ridiculous.

Furthermore, Kalin is one of the five-strong governing board of IMC and his critics now say that he is using the organisation to attack his commercial rivals. Members of the advisory committee apparently decided that they did not want to be a party to any potential lawsuits, with its involvement in attacking residency programmes such as Hungary’s going beyond its stated mission.

“The IMC is no more than a mouthpiece of Henley & Partners,” said an industry source.

IMC was established in October 2014 with the stated aim of bringing together stakeholders within the immigration and citizenship by investment industry and to give the industry a voice and, for reasons best known to itself, said it will soon be opening a representative office in Barbados.

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IMAGE: Arton Capital Logo

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