Ali Sadr’s Hashemi Nejad’s citizenship was brought up at his trial yesterday as the government presented a witness to explain how Ali Sadr obtained the citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis, a Caribbean island with a population of less than 60,000 people.

St Kitts and Nevis was the jurisdiction where Henley & Partners launched their worldwide passport-selling service. They set up the first ‘citizenship by investment’ scheme in that country selling passports for anything up to $250,000 each. Henley is estimated to have collected a 10% margin on the sale of each passport and is believed to have sold over 16,000 Kittitian passports since the scheme was launched.

A witness for the government at Ali Sadr’s trial yesterday was asked if he would describe Saint Kitts & Nevis’ citizenship by investment due diligence as lax. The witness replied in the affirmative.

Henley & Partners’ website however claims that a Kittitian passport is only granted “subject to a stringent application procedure including thorough background checks.”

In cross-examination by Ali Sadr’s lawyer the witness was asked if they were aware 9 other countries sold their passports “including Canada”. The witness replied they were not aware of this.

Investors are allowed to acquire Canadian citizenship after a minimum of three years of physical residence and permanent economic activity in Canada. The Saint Kitts & Nevis scheme has no residential requirement and its investment requirement is limited to acquisition of real estate.

The trial continues.