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The battle over Levera

Thomas Anthony – the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Grenada Citizenship By Investment Committee (CBI)

Court documents filed in Grenada seem to suggest that U.S investors Robert Oveson and his brother Randall Oveson were operating at the Levera Development site under an illegal cloud for years.

This newspaper has seen a letter dated April 17, 2019 from the then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Grenada Citizenship By Investment Committee (CBI), Thomas Anthony pointing out to Randy Oveson that he had no legal cover to be granted “approved status” for the project.

The Oveson brothers had formed Grenada Citizenship Development Limited (GCDL) to operate at Levera after striking a deal from the Levera Resort Development Limited (LRDL) to develop the 256 acre property by luring wealthy foreigners to pump money into the project through the purchase of Grenadian passports.

However, the documents are indicating that Levera Resort had no legal authority to transfer its rights to engage in the CBI programme to the Oveson outfit.

The local passport selling office informed GCDL that it would have to get its own approval for status.

The Oveson Brothers were forced to halt work at Levera in the absence of “approved status” coupled with the fact that LRDL sold the property to a wealthy Chinese businessman for a reported US$35 million dollars.

The two sides are now engaged in a battle before the local courts with the Oveson Brothers suing Levera Resort for US$19.5 million in compensation for losses as a result of breach of contract.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces the letter from the local CBI office that warned GCDL that it was operating without “approved status” at Levera:

April 17, 2019

Mr. Stephen Randall Oveson
Grenada Citizenship Development Limited
C/O Afi Ventour & Company
Unit 3, Upper Floor
Spiceland Mall
Morne Rouge, Grand Anse
St. George, Grenada

Dear Mr. Oveson,

Further to our recent communications, I have reviewed the package of documents provided to me on 27th November, 2018 with a focus on consideration of whether the status of Approved Project under section 11 of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act 15 of 2013 (CBl Act) granted to Levera Resort Development Limited (LRDL) in February 2015 has been effectively transferred to Turtle Beach Hotel Ltd. (Turtle Beach).

You have referred to the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA), between LRDL and Grenada Citizenship Development Ltd (GCDL) executed 18th March 2016 as evidence of the agreement by LRDL to allow GODL to use LRDL’s approved status. I note section 1.5 of the SPA which evidences such agreement. However, it is not accurate that the SPA evidences the effective transfer of LRDL’s approved status to GCDL.

Section 11 of the CBI Act states:

The Minister shall from time to time by Order identify projects to be managed by identified bodies and organisations and approve those projects for the purpose of investment under this Act…

The status of Approved Project may be granted to an identified entity following Committee’s examination and consideration of an application in due form and recommendation to the Minister. lt is imperative that the Committee receives the standard required information about projects and developers with approved status, which includes information required to be provided within an application for approved status, as well as ongoing requirements set by the committee for disclosure and evidence of various matters. In this case, the committee has not been afforded the required opportunity to review and consider Turtle Beach as an approved project and no such status has been granted to Turtle Beach.

You are hereby notified that until such time as the Minister grants Turtle Beach the status of an approved project in accordance with the CBI Act, the Citizenship by Investment Unit will no longer accept applications identifying Turtle Beach as the Approved Project.

For your reference, I have enclosed a copy of SRO 28 which includes the requirements for an application for Status of Approved Project. ln addition to the items required to be provided for an application for status of an Approved Project, in light of the fact that Turtle Beach/Levera has been operating as an Approved Project for several years, it is necessary and required that you also provide the usual quarterly statements required of an Approved Project, details of which you have been provided with prior.

Sincerely

Thomas F.L Anthony
Chief Executive Officer

Cc Mr. Percival Clouden, Chairman Grenada Citizenship by Investment Committee

Mrs. Afl Ventour de Vega

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