Antigua Foreign Minister Chet Greene said his government would have denied citizenship to fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi if it had known about the charges against him, NDTV reported on Saturday. Greene also promised that Antigua would extend its cooperation to an extradition request in view of its friendly relationship with India and to protect its integrity as a nation.

“We would not have, and I want to be very clear, we would not have granted him citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda had we known of the situation,” Greene said.

Choksi said on Thursday that he “lawfully applied” to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda to expand his business interests in the Caribbean and used the country’s Citizenship Investment Program to invest in the country in exchange for its citizenship. The CIP’s aim is to make use of the estimated $2 million global citizenship market. Choksi’s citizenship, which caused him a little more than Rs 1.3 crore, was cleared before the Central Bureau of Investigation registered the first case of bank fraud against him and his nephew Nirav Modi.

Greene said Antigua’s citizenship programme checked every applicant to ensure there is nothing against them and it had done “due diligence” on Choksi. “Those reports, those background checks have indicated that he was someone fit… for citizenship which he was granted in January this year,” said the minister. “There was no indication from the background check done, of him having any kind of infractions, or anything of this nature in his character.”

Greene further said the government was willing to make public records of those background checks to show that it “acted properly” along the way.

On Friday, Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne told News18 that the Indian government had not written to it over the matter. “Neither the Enforcement Directorate nor the CBI has written to us. We cannot revoke Choksi’s passport,” he said. Meanwhile, an Opposition leader in Antigua criticised Browne for his silence over the scandal while another demanded a thorough external investigation into the operations of the CIP, reported the Daily Observer.

Choksi fled India in January, a few weeks before the country’s biggest banking fraud came to light. Along with Modi, he is accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,000 crore.

In March, a special court issued non-bailable warrants against Choksi after the Enforcement Directorate filed a chargesheet against him. Earlier this month, the agency moved the court seeking to confiscate the attached assets of Choksi and Modi, and declare the two as fugitives under a new ordinance.