Henley denies ‘interference’ in elections where Cambridge Analytica was involved

Henley & Partners has said that chairman Christian Kalin was introduced to disgraced Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix in 2010 by St Kitts and Nevis government

Henley group chairman Christian Kalin
Henley group chairman Christian Kalin

A spokesperson for Henley & Partners has declared that the citizenship company, which runs Malta’s citizenship-by-investment programme, did come into contact with the controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica before the 2010 election in St Kitts and Nevis.

Henley, which is run by Swiss lawyer Christian Kalin, was already running the Caribbean island’s sale of passports when it relaunched the programme in 2007. It said it was the St Kitts government that introduced him to disgraced CEO Alexander Nix at the time.

But the company has denied having had any connection between any government mandate it had, and the 2010 election in which the ruling party employed Cambridge Analytica – then known as SCL Group – to assist it in its campaign.

The Spectator has reported emails it has seen of Swiss lawyer Christian Kalin describing to Arnhim Eustace, leader of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) during the St Vincent and the Grenadines election of 2010, potential investment opportunities with the party’s leader while giving him instructions for one of his speeches.

Even there, the SCL Group had been tasked by Arnhim Eustace’s New Democratic Party to assist it in its campaign. The NDP was billed over $4 million – including $100,000 for ‘counter operations’ – by SNL, despite having lost that election.

But Henley denied having “any formal working relationship” with the data analytics firm, which is embroiled in a scandal dealing with the psychological manipulation of voters in the US election and Brexit referendum.

“Neither Henley & Partners nor its Group Chairman, Dr. Christian Kälin, has ever provided funding for any election campaign, and there has never been any form of connection between the granting of any government mandate we have received and any election,” Henley told MaltaToday.

But it said that in seeking relationships with governments to create citizenship-by-investment programmes, the company “naturally sometimes also interacts with political leaders of opposition parties that are interested in the topic of investment migration for the purpose of their economic-policy agendas.”

The company said any suggestion of wrongdoing in this would be “incorrect and misleading”.

Henley & Partners however declared that it did come into contact with SCL shortly before the 2010 election in St Kitts and Nevis, after its former CEO Alexander Nix was introduced to Kalin by the government of the time “as he was to many other firms and consultants working with the government on economic, political, or social issues in the Caribbean.”

During the 2010 general election in St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, SNL was accused of having filmed the opposition leader, Lindsay Grant, accepting a bribe by one of their undercover operatives posing as a real-estate investor.

That same year the Caribbean islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines was also going into elections.

According to the Spectator’s emails, Kalin is said to have told NDP leader Arnhim Eustace what “we could do with you once you are in government” and what the candidate might say in his campaign. “You might wish to discuss this with your strategists and think about what you may wish to include in your propaganda (having used this word, the below points are not propaganda but is very much a reality if you let us do it). If there is an acceptable government in place (i.e. NDP) you can count on the following.”

Kalin then lists various investments Eustace could count on if he won the election, such as a large residential and hotel development, a new chain of retail banks from “an important international banking group”, a construction group to invest in major infrastructure projects, as well as input from “a global player in private aircraft services” and from “several of the world’s most experienced international tax specialists”.

In explaining this kind of relationship, Henley told MaltaToday that Kalin developed, and continues to retain, “a professional, friendly relationship” with former NDP leader Arnhim Eustace, “a highly respected politician in the Caribbean, as he has with many other leading figures in the region and elsewhere. This relationship does not imply any impropriety on his part, or on the part of Henley & Partners, and it would be wrong to indicate as much in any way,” Henley said.

“In principle, it was agreed that if Mr Eustace’s party were elected to government, which it ultimately was not, then Henley & Partners would be interested in helping it develop a citizenship-by-investment program for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as a way to provide much-needed investment for the country. This objective was part of the official political agenda of the opposition party.”

Henley also described its “business focus” as being interested in “any country where a government may be considering residence- or citizenship-by-investment as a means of attracting foreign direct investment.”

The company said it was committed to working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the highest levels of due diligence and international best practice in such programmes.

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