EconomyNext – Sri Lanka has told India about alleged hidden wealth of ousted strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, including accounts in tax havens like the Seychelles and real-estate in Dubai, a newspaper report said.
The information was shared to support the island’s request for New Delhi’s help to set up a Financial Intelligence Unit to trace the money, India’s Economic Times newspaper said.
Details were given by new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during his trip to India last week when he held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders.
Sirisena told Modi about accounts in tax havens such as the St Martin Islands, Hong Kong, Macau and Seychelles where he claimed much of the money had been moved to, the newspaper quoted Indian government officials privy to the discussions as saying.
" Sirisena also informed Modi and other Indian leaders about investments that were allegedly made by the Rajapaksa family in real-estate projects in Dubai, Uganda and Kenya," it said.
The newspaper said Sirisena indicated that his government was "very serious" about pursuing corruption charges against the former president and that it has set up a commission to investigate the charges.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera also sought US help in unearthing the money during his trip there on February 11-15.
Sirisena and the coalition of parties led by him had made corruption a key issue in their successful January election campaign and are moving quickly to fulfil promises.
The newspaper said the Sri Lankan Cabinet has appointed a high-powered "rapid response team" to look into allegations of corruption in land transactions, stock market price-fixing and abuse of state funds for political purposes.
Rajapaksa hasn’t yet commented on the allegations.