The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is calling for a full-scale investigation into the affairs of Chinese-born investor Charles C. Liu, who is known to be a Grenadian citizen under the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme and a major investor in the proposed USD2Billion, Mt. Hartman project.
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States has filed anti-fraud charges against Liu and his wife Xin Wang.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced that it “stands ready to take the appropriate action as the facts are ascertained” in the Liu matter in the United States.
Expressing concern about the developing issue during the weekly NDC press conference Monday, the party’s Political Leader, Senator Nazim Burke said he has received information that Wang was also granted diplomatic status as he held the post of Commercial Attaché at the Grenada Embassy in Beijing, China.
Sen. Burke said this does not augur well for the country as it raises “serious concerns about the circumstances under which the Government of Grenada would have decided to grant diplomatic status, citizenship and the rank of Commercial Attaché to Mr. Liu”.
He also contended that the matter also brings into focus “the due diligence that would have been done before he (Liu) became a citizen of Grenada and secondly before he was appointed a Commercial Attaché”.
In the circumstances, Sen. Burke called for the revocation of Liu‘s diplomatic status and for a number of precautionary measures to be taken by government in an abundance of caution, including freezing all assets, accounts and companies belonging to Liu and his wife in the Spice Isle.
The Congress leader urged the Mitchell-led government to do a search warrant for a company registered at the Supreme Court Registry in the name of Liu and his wife, operating at the GCNA Complex on the Kirani James Boulevard, St George.
Sen. Burke also called for investigation to be done by an independent body and for Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell as the Minister responsible for having charge over the Citizenship by Investment programme, Foreign Affairs Minister Clarice Modeste-Curwen, as well as Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Supt. Tafawa Pierre, who is husband of Sports Minister Emmalin Pierre, to step down from office while the investigation, (which will determine the extent of improprieties,) is being conducted.
According to the Congress leader, “it is extremely important” for this to be done given “the culture of intimidation and victimisation that has taken place here”.
Liu and his wife are accused of misusing more than 2/3 or the monies they raised from investors for the purpose of building and operating a proton cancer treatment center in Southern California.
Sen. Burke identified the Chinese businessman as the driving force behind the US$2Billion project earmarked for Mt. Hartman, which includes the development of the Mt. Hartman Peninsular and Hog Island.
The project is expected to include high-end resorts, a wellness centre and other recreational and entertainment features.
Known as the Grenada Resort Complex Project, the Liu promoted initiative is to be developed by a Chinese company called the United Damei Group (UDG).
Sen. Burke noted that the US court, “in granting the Security and Exchange Commission’s request to freeze the assets and accounts of Mr. Liu and his wife and the related companies, the court order (also) prohibits them from raising any further monies from investors and spending any of the monies that they now have in their possession”.
This is a clear hint that the Chinese investor will be hard-pressed to continue with his hunt to woo investors for the billion-dollar project set for the Spice Isle.