Sri Lanka to unleash FCID on nationals named in Panama Papers

ECONOMYNEXT – Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake Tuesday vowed to investigate all Sri Lanka domiciled individuals and entities named in the leaked Panama Papers as having shell companies abroad.

"We are going to write to each and every person or company identified in the Panama Papers," Karunanayake said. "We will give them two weeks to respond, and failing which, we will report them to the FCID."

The Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) will be asked to find how the named individuals massed their wealth that had been stashed abroad by forming shell companies.

According to documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Nissanka Senadhipathi of Avant garde fame incorporated an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with three others in 2012.

The four shareholders of the Avant Garde offshore operation are Yapa Hetti Pathirannahalage Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, Senerath Bandara Dissanayake, Prasanna Athanasius Sirimevan Rajaratne and Y. H. P. Kithsiri Manjula Kumara Yapa.

It was Mossack Fonseca’s Singapore operation that helped Avant Garde set up its offshore operation in the British Virgin Islands.

Senadhipathi has reportedly denied any wrongdoing and said he incorporated the offshore company to help get visas to travel abroad, a claim rejected by minister Karunanayake on Tuesday night.

Senadhipathi and his Sri Lanka operation is under investigation by the CID following the discovery of automatic weapons that had their serial numbers defaced.

Authorities have said that Avant Garde is under investigation for money laundering. Senadhipathi was known as a close associate of former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The new government, which came into power in January last year on a promise to clean up corruption, has accused former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family and their friends of siphoning off billions of dollars during his decade in power – a charge he has denied.

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About 11.5 million leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca revealed the large-scale use of offshore entities to conceal assets from tax authorities.

The Sri Lankan domiciled individuals are as follows:

  • Kenneth John Pendigrast
  • Yapa Hetti Pathirannahalage Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi
  • Mohamed Siddeek Mohamed Ali
  • Senerath Bandara Dissanayake
  • Min Xuan
  • Jayakody Arachchige Dona Marian Srini Pamela Jayakody
  • Palavinnege Sumith Cumaranatunga
  • Prasanna Athanasius Sirimevan Rajaratne
  • Tristan Laurens Bernard
  • Nicola Dawn Hakansson
  • Michael Robert Nasmyth MacPherson
  • Aroon Hirdaramani
  • Mona Hirdaramani and Aroon Hirdaramani as joints tenants with Rights of Survivorship
  • Arun Prakash Mahtani
  • Mukesh Khubchand
  • Ng Yin Peng
  • Simon Finch
  • Y H P Kithsiri Manjula Kumara Yapa

The following Sri Lankan addresses had been given to set up offshore operations:

  • 325 Park Rd, Colombo 05 Sri Lanka
  • 49; Siri Dhammadara Road; Rathmalana; Sri Lanka
  • 50/12 Siripa Road Colombo 5; Colombo; Sri Lanka
  • 52 Galle Road; Colombo 3; Sri Lanka
  • 61 Barnes Place; Colombo 7; Sri Lanka
  • 7/3 de Fonseka Place; Colombo 4; Sri Lanka
  • 88 Amberfield; Howick; Sri Lanka; 3290
  • Advani; 7A Sumner Place; Borella; Colombo 8; Sri Lanka
  • Flat 8B; Ceylinco Seylan Tower; 90 Galle Road; Colombo 5; Sri Lanka.
  • No. 250 Havelock Road Colombo 5, Sri Lanka
  • No.25; Mission Lane; Pitakotte; Sri Lanka
  • 127/9 New Parliament Road; Battaramulla; Sri Lanka
  • 168/7; Siripura Gardens; Rajamahavihara Road; Kotte; Sri Lanka
  • 17; Sirimal Avenue; Off Quarry Road; Dehiwela; Sri Lanka
  • 18A Palmyrah Ave.; Colombo 3; Sri Lanka
  • 22/10/1; Sri Bimbarama Road; Kolamunna; Piliyandala; Sri Lanka
  • 30/1; 2/2 Kasappa Road; Colombo 5; Sri Lanka
  • 309; Mahahunupitiya; Negombo; Sri Lanka

There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts.

The International Corsortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which is behind the Panama Papers leak, does not suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in their earlier OffShore Leaks database or the Panama Papers have broken the law or acted improperly.

Sri Lankan law allows nationals to set up offshore operations, but it must be declared to the Inland Revenue Department and the Exchange Control department of the Central Bank. If not, they will be liable for prosecution under the Inland Revenue Act, exchange control laws and anti-money laundering legislation. (COLOMBO, May 10 2016)

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