Valley

Immigration office launches probe into Michael Kobold

- Tsering D Gurung, Kathmandu

Jan 12, 2019-

The Department of Immigration has initiated an internal investigation into Michael Kobold, the German watchmaker who was found to have flouted Nepali immigration laws, Director General Eshor Raj Poudel told the Post. 

Poudel said his department has also reached out to senior officials at the Nepal Tourism Board, asking them to hand over all documents related to Kobold—including the agreement signed between the two parties in January 2017—which would be used as part of their investigation. 

“Using two passports to extend one’s visa period is a violation of immigration laws and can result in the person being banned from the country,” Poudel said over the phone. “And if the investigation finds that he has violated immigration laws and is involved in illegal activities, then Nepal Police will take action.”

Nepal’s immigration law also grants the department authority to cancel the visas of individuals involved in suspicious activities.

“We won’t shy away from taking stern action if required,” said Poudel. 

[ALSO READ:  Watchmaker promising fire trucks for Nepal has a series of dodgy financial dealings—and a chequered past]

As parts of its investigation into Michael Kobold, the Post had published a report on Friday detailing his history of evading Nepali immigration rules. 

Kobold was found to have set up dummy companies to apply for business visas and used two passports to circumvent Nepal’s tourist visa policy. 

Despite multiple requests, Kobold has refused to comment or be interviewed by the Post. However, he continues to defend himself and attack the Post’s reporting on his social media. 

In response to the report published Friday, Kobold wrote: “... The fact is that I have at all times complied with the agreement made between the Nepal immigration chief (at the time) and my counsel and me... Suffice it to say that the relevant Nepal authorities—at the highest level—were always kept abreast of my dealings in Nepal, including my immigration status.”

In a phone conversation with the Post, Deepak Kafle, then immigration chief, refuted all of Kobold’s claims. 

“I have never heard of Kobold,” said Kafle. “His claims are completely untrue.”

ALSO READ: Former Kobold employees say they were harassed, not paid for their work

 

Published: 12-01-2019 09:32

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