Written by Lahiru Fernando
10 May, 2016 | 10:13 pm
The “Panama Papers” data-base went live and searchable on the night of May 9, stripping the veil of secrecy from thousands of offshore shell companies and the people who have used them.
A list of Sri Lankans also involved in the controversial company at the centre of the Panama Papers expose’ was released on Monday
Details of the Panama Papers, which sparked global outrage when first leaked, were released on its website at 11 p.m. Sri Lankan time last night.
The files leaked from a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca reveals how the rich and powerful which include world leaders, current and former, as well as prominent celebrities use tax havens to hide their wealth.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which exposed the documents say there is a cache of 11.5 million records.
Last night ICIJ published online, a searchable database that stripped away the secrecy.
According to this expose’ 1046 Indians, 7325 Americans, 33,290 Chinese, 5676 British nationals and 6285 Russians are involved in this network.
The list of offshore links released in the document last night, also involves 22 accounts belonging to Sri Lankans, 19 offices and many addresses in Sri Lanka.
Among the Sri Lankan names disclosed in the document is Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi who is the Chairman of Avant-Garde [Pvt] Ltd which came under the spotlight of controversy in the recent past as well as Y.H.P. Kithsiri Manjula Kumara Yapa, Senerath Bandara Dissanayake and Prasanna Sirimewan Rajaratne who are directors of the company.
The ICIJ document also mentions Sri Lankans involved in the jewelry and telephone trade.
On its website the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published a disclaimer.
It reads that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts.
ICIJ adds that it does not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.
While many people and entities have the same or similar names, ICIJ suggest that the identities of any individuals or entities located in the database based on addresses or other identifiable information be confirmed.
ICIJ requests that they be informed of any error in the database is found.
Several views were expressed on this issue. Senior lawyer Gomin Dayasiri, speaking on the issue said:
“There is a huge task vested upon the Inland Revenue Department and the Central Bank”.
Senior Lawyer Gomin Dayasiri further stated that the CBSL and Inland Revenue Dept. should investigate if those mentioned have evaded or avoided tax.
Chandra Jayaratne, former chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce also commented on the issuel
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