A book titled Sri Lanka Heist – Inside the $16 billion plunder of a nation by an investigative writer named Harrold Cane is due to be launched in the United Kingdom this week.
Several pre-publication copies of the book have been circulated in Colombo, and RepublicNext also received a copy.
The book, which indicates no publisher, regurgitates many of the allegations made against the alleged Rajapaksa Oligarchy in the last few years of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration and during the 2015 Presidential and Parliamentary election campaigns.
The author, who appears to have written another similar exposé titled Narco Karabakh – about the Nagorno-Karabakh ethnic conflict – claims to have visited Sri Lanka many times.
” Cane” quotes “top businessmen” and “officials close to the administration” but names none of them.
He even recounts having a few shots of Johnny Walker Blue Label Whiskey with the former President. Cane claims he gifted the liquor to Rajapaksa.
RepublicNext could not authenticate that anecdote.
One of the matters that he talks of is the role the Lebanese Canadian Bank is said to have played in allegedly laundering cash stolen during the period of the previous administration.
Shadowy figures carrying wads of cash
The Bank was investigated by international agencies as a financial entity that helped Hezbollah which was declared a terrorist organisation by Western countries.
The book, written after the October 2018 Constitutional Coup and apparently affiliated with an organisation named Cambridge International, also talks of shadowy figures connected to China’s Exim Bank turning up in Colombo with wads of cash during the Rajapaksa reign.
It also quotes extensively from the New York Times report “How China Got Sri Lanka to cough up a Port.”
In that article, the NYT reported that China bribed members of the Rajapaksa family to grant it concessions.
On behalf of the family, MP Namal Rajapaksa denied the allegations in toto and said he would take legal action against the NYT both in Sri Lanka and in the United States.
As of now, no such legal action has been filed to the best of our knowledge.
The book has a whole chapter on the alleged looting of SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka.
Much of that information is publicly available in the Weliamuna Report and Media reporting hearings in the Presidential Commission investigating the work of the airlines during the Rajapaksa period.
Interestingly, it makes no mention of Sajin Vaas Gunewardene who was the architect of Mihin Lanka.
The book has numerous photographs that look as if they were directly downloaded from the internet. No photo credits are given.