An argument for minimum due diligence standards in Commonwealth Island citizenship by investment programmes facilitated by artificial intelligence

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In a world which is conceptually growing smaller and more technological, little notice has been given to developing commonwealth nations and the economic potential which has yet to be realised. These territories practice Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes where for as little as £80,000, an individual could potentially own a second passport, with visa-free access to a myriad of tertiary countries. Critics of the industry argue that these programmes can lead to an influx of screening, money laundering, terrorist financing, and/or tax reporting risks. Others argue that these programmesprovide an opportunity for individuals who may have been disadvantaged by their country of birth. Despite these debates, CBI continues to be popular among individuals who are seeking a new citizenship, and they have become an important source of foreign investment. CBIs not only face international criticism, but also face due diligence concerns, which have had an impact on their longterm economic viability.Due diligence is used to ensure that individuals who are seeking citizenship through investment meet certain criteria. These standards are typically established by the country that is offering the investment programme, and they are intended to protect the country's reputation and prevent individuals who may pose a risk to the country. It is argued that the introduction of minimum due diligence standardswhich are informed by international best practice policy and recommendations, is now an essentialrequirement. This is because the administration of due diligence seemingly varies from one countryto another, and there is ongoing debate about what constitutes an appropriate level of due diligence,as compliance with international due diligence organisation also differs when compared.Artificial intelligence (AI), it is argued, has the potential to significantly bolster current due diligence process by facilitating minimum administrative standards for industry stakeholders. By automating certain tasks and analysing large amounts of Commonwealth Island Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CICIP) data, AI can help to identify risks that may not be apparent to stakeholders conducting manual due diligence. To make this a reality, it will become important for governments to formulate novel AI policy. Thus, use of legally trustworthy AI processes by stakeholders can help to improve the overall transparency, efficiency and accuracy of the due diligence process, whilepromoting secure information sharing and data collection. It is argued that the current modus operandi of due diligence needs to be bolstered in consideration of global technological advancements, as these advancements also aid malfeasant applicants aiming to circumvent the due diligence process. To confirm or reject such a hypothesis, methodologies that have been utilised in conducting this study include doctrinal research, which was used to explain the legal position of CICIP due diligence across jurisdictions; socio-Legal research to question the assumed significance of law to many social problems such as citizenship; and comparative legal research, among other methodologies. The thesis makes original contributions in this space. To this effect, the research covered in this thesis contributes to literature in several ways. It is the firsttime considerations are made from a Commonwealth member perspective to coin the term Commonwealth Island Citizenship by Investment Programme (CICIP) and illustrating commonalitiesand differences concerning these economies. This encouraged a novel comparative analysis between the European Union and Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States programmes including, but not limited to, their compliance with international due diligence standards and reasons for practicing these programmes. Finally, the rationale for minimum due diligence standards administered using AI tools is made. In making this original tripartite contribution, many limitations have been realised,however, it is argued that the benefits outweigh the inadequacies. Further areas for research have been realised particularly in consideration of the development of international due diligence standards and attempts at creating a AI regulatory environment. Nevertheless, it is opined that in the current status quo, much more can be done to bolster due diligence in citizenship by investment programmes. This contribution invites policymakers and practitioners in this field to ponder constructively on how due diligence in citizenship via investment programmes could be developed despite it being informed by the findings in the chapters of this thesis
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorUmut Turksen (Supervisor)

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