Panama Papers : Will Sri Lanka launch investigations?

Panama Papers : Will Sri Lanka launch investigations?

Panama Papers : Will Sri Lanka launch investigations?

Written by Staff Writer

06 Apr, 2016 | 7:16 pm

A huge leak of documents has rocked the financial world revealing how some among the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

With data still being leaked, News 1st reported yesterday that three Sri Lankan companies are mentioned of in the leaked documents based on an interactive map put out by the Irish Times, quoting the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

The files leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca contain 40 years of data and include information on more than 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Panama to Hong Kong.

Panama Papers and Sri Lanka’s response

Chandra-Jayaratne

Former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne

In a letter to law enforcement authorities, Former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne had said that it is essential that Sri Lanka’s response to the Panama Papers not be restricted to only obtaining the details of the three entities listed under the Sri Lanka Country Profile.

The former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce emphasizes that it is essential that the Sri Lankan State must get the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bribery and Corruption Commission, Financial Investigation Unit, Exchange Control Department and the Presidential Commission on Corruption to immediately take collective strategic action steps to pool their resources and available critical investigation data base information and inquiry findings.

The letter by Chandra Jayaratne also puts forth a number of recommendations.

RECOMMENDATIONS 

A. Prepare a complete list of all entities that have surfaced as having engaged or likely to have engaged in serious financial crimes, money laundering, tax and exchange control avoidance.

B. To include companies/trust and other documentary or proxy holdings, including entities with investments placed overseas via beneficial ownership and investments placed in “orbit” using special purpose vehicles, bearer bonds and other derivatives.

C. The list of entities to be compiled above, to include entities registered overseas especially in Netherlands , British Virgin Island ,Bahamas, Dubai, Seychelles, Singapore, Vietnam, and Laos.

The letter concludes by saying that this comprehensive list must be used to validate against the entire list of entities in the Panama Papers in determining the potential Sri Lankan exposure within the leaked Panama Papers.

Consultant at the Front Against Corruption Keerthi Tennakone, speaking to News1st stated that the front has reiterated for over a year that monies which were accumulated through fraudulent means are being hidden away as undeclared assets around the world.. He also noted that it is unfortunate that legal actions are yet to be taken in this regard.

Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake speaking to News1st from Japan noted that he needs to get confirmation from the President and the Prime Minister prior to directing the Central Bank to launch investigations into the details revealed through the Panama Papers leak.

The Exchange Control Department which comes under the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is tight-lipped on the subject while our attempts to contact the governor of the CBSL to get a reaction over the recent expose’- proved futile.

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