BAHAMIAN businessman and impresario Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Kermit King was spotlighted in an episode of the CBS programme ‘60 minutes’ over his former role as Dominica’s ambassador to Bahrain.
The episode entitled “Passports for Sale”, which aired on New Year’s Day, focused on “citizenship by investment” programmes and how “cash-starved countries offer citizenship for a price, creating ways to ease travel for foreigners, including those running from the law”.
Mr King is given a special mention by the show’s correspondent Steve Kroft, who refers to him as a Bahamian fugitive from US justice.
The episode has unearthed controversy and speculation over whether Mr King actually held a diplomatic passport.
Dominica’s Senior Counsel Tony Astaphan, in an interview with Dominica News Online, has refuted the diplomatic ambassadorship and accused Opposition Leader Lennox Linton of lying during his interview with CBS.
“He went on CBS and he spoke about a gentleman called King who having diplomatic passport and was appointed ambassador to Bahrain,” Mr Astaphan stated.
“That was false. King, from what I recall, never had a Dominican passport or a Dominican diplomatic passport and I was never aware of him being appointed ambassador to any specific country.”
According to thedominican.net, a bi-monthly news publication, Mr King was first introduced to the Dominican public in 2006, when he presented himself as the Dominica Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
King was appointed a goodwill ambassador in January 2006, according to the newspaper, after a little known organisation which he headed, King Humanitarian and Global Vision Foundation, promised to deliver several projects, including a library.
The organisation reportedly presented Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit with its “Salute to Greatness Award” to honour his “contribution” to education.
In late 2006, according to the newspaper, Mr King was reportedly given responsibility to research and promote trade, cultural and investment opportunities for Dominica, particularly in the Middle East.
The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said last week it had noted inquiries about the recent CBS programme. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Ministry wishes to advise that the Bahamas does not have citizenship by investment. The programme has nothing to do with The Bahamas,” a statement said.
In 2014, Mr King was indicted on 23 counts of fraud by United States authorities.
According to the indictment, Mr King created bogus corporations that he then used to create merchant accounts with credit card processors. Investigations by the US Secret Service and US Postal Inspection Service led to the indictments.
Mr King has denied all charges.