Minister for Trade, Economic Development Planning, Corporative and International Business, Oliver Joseph insists that the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission’s interest in Charles Liu is nothing to be alarmed about.
Addressing the media at Tuesday’s post cabinet briefing, the minister said the US needs to be more concerned than Grenada since the crimes the Chinese businessman is accused of, happened in their jurisdiction and not in ours.
Charles Liu is a major partner in what has been billed as a US$ 2 billion tourism mega project at the Mt. Hartman Peninsula in the deep south of the island. He is also the holder of a Grenadian passport through the Citizen By Investment programme.
Last week the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Mr. Liu and his wife of diverting to personal accounts, millions of dollars from monies they had raised from Chinese investors seeking US immigration visas.
The money, they had promised, would be used to build a cancer treatment centre which more than 18 months later had not materialized.
According to Minister Joseph, Liu is only a partner in the company that has decide to invest in a project in Grenada and he made it clear that the matter, which involves Mr. Liu has nothing to do with the Grenada CBI programme. He noted that the businessman has been appointed as an agent for a programme in the United States, which he said is similar to the economic citizenship programme here. Such an agent will get investors to invest in the United States and when a substantial investment is made they are granted permanent residence and citizenship.
He went on to say that in order to be an agent of the programme in the US one must undergo thorough due diligence.
He added that Mr. Liu was appointed in the US before coming to Grenada, which means that he was cleared of all due diligence and when he applied to Grenada, “we have our own due diligence that is done by a reputable international agency assisted on our local FIU.”
The minister lectured that someone is not charged until a report is made and it is thoroughly investigated and if there are any indications of wrong doing then they are charged. He added that the investigation of Mr. Charles Liu is a civil matter and that the SEC is looking into the matter and the allegations that were made in order for investigation to proceed.
Minister Joseph assured that the government is working closely with the United States government and the State Department and all other stakeholders in monitoring the developing situation.
He noted that if at any time, criminal charges are brought against Mr. Liu then government will take the appropriate action. According to the minister, the situation involving Mr. Liu in the United States will not affect the project in Grenada. He said they have the assurance of the other investors in the project, that it project will continue because of its great potential.