Tuesday, May 19, 2020


In November of 2019 we reported that passports were being sold willy nilly to some Iranians and that could one day be problematic. We were taken to task for saying so; passport agents and apologists of the Skerrit corruption said that our reporting was a political hatchet job meant to influence the voters.

Our report was based on credible information that Dominica like some of the other countries in the region had been selling passports to Iranians without an enhanced due diligence practice. In addition we knew of one particular instance when an Iranian who declared his profession as a painter came into Dominica via Venezuela got a birth certificate, a new name and a Dominica passport and took a flight back to Venezuela. 

Iranian - Mahdis Zahrae
In 2018 a young Iranian woman carrying a Dominica passport, name Mahdis Jeddy Zahrae had been deported from Canada straight to Dominica. We were astonished that she was able to buy a passport from a particular agent in Dubai. Picture of Mahdis Jeddy Zahrae shown above.

Would you believe that less than two months after MiTC was blasted for reporting that passports sold to Iranians could be a problem ,the Dominica government suddenly instituted a ban on selling passports to Iranians Citizens? As it stands the ban on Iranian citizens does make exception for Iranian citizens who have been living outside of the country of Iran for 10 years and have no business and or financial bond with the country of Iran. In addition all Iranian applicants will be subjected to Enhanced due diligence (EDD) checks and the applicants must pick up the tab for the enhanced due diligence.

We should also add that citizens from Sudan and North Korea were also included in the prohibition.

Time after time the Roosevelt Skerrit administration continue to tell us that their due diligence program is bullet proof yet unsavory people around the world continue to get possession of our passports. We are not sure as to what prompted Cricket Bandit and CBI coordinator Emmanuel Nanthan to admit at a CBI conference that there are some problems with the CBI program. At a February 2020 CBI conference he stated “there are a number of issues with the CBI program. Right now for example, the issue with Iran and so we are trying to ensure our due diligence continue to be on
top. So we have put a ban on Iran….”

We already knew that the CBI program had been severely handicapped by the de-risking actions taken by international banks. The underlying practice of de-risking considers some CBI accounts as tainted with possible money laundering, terrorist financing, sanction regime violations, tax evasion and as we are all too familiar with, political corruption.

With Emmanuel Nathan admitting in January of 2020 that there were serious issues with the vetting of Iranians citizens we are now beginning to wonder whether it was a mare coincident that around the same time Dominica’s ambassador of Seas and Oceans Paolo Zampoli got a visit from the FBI on matters allegedly about Dominica.

Zampoli had previously boasted that he was responsible for bringing the Kempinski project to Dominica and felt that he was entitled to about US$5.5 Million in commission. In 2019 Zampoli filed a lawsuit against Range Capital claiming that he had not been paid his commission.

According to our credible sources in New York, following the Al Jazeera reports on Dominica’s corruption and passport racketeering, Zampoli admitted that the FBI came to his house and after that encounter with the FBI Zampoli immediately discontinued the lawsuit claiming that he wants nothing to do with the Kempinski project. According to Zampoli himself the alleged US $5.5 million owed to him is not worth the high voltage circling that money. He stated that the FBI is on “the case “and other agencies as well.

Another issue facing Dominica’s CBI program is that much focused had been placed on exploiting the UAE market for passport sales but the UAE have been considered an underperformer when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of money laundering particularly in Dubai. They have also received  mediocre ratings on preventing and countering terrorism financing .The  Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has placed the UAE on a dirty money watch list. We understand that some banks in the UAE have already received fines and punishments and so banks are taking more protective measures to avoid handling tainted money. 

With the UAE on the cusp of being placed on an international watch list there is no doubt that the CBI sales and transfer of funds would be impacted. Not just for Dominica but the entire region.

The leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Kent Vidal continue to sound the warning that there will come a time when the  passport selling business will be severely handicapped.   The time nearly is upon us and yet the government of Dominica seem to have no alternate plan for Dominica's economy. 

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