Gretta Fenner, a Swiss expert, has arrived in Sri Lanka to assist the Sri Lankan government in its investigations into “clandestine” Swiss bank accounts belonging to Sri Lankans, informed government sources told the Daily News.
The Swiss expert has visited the country following a request made by Sri Lankan authorities to the government of Switzerland. This issue drew the attention of Sri Lankan authorities in February, this year, when a cache of leaked Swiss bank files analysed by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) contained information linked to 92 Sri Lankan clients holding 129 accounts with a total value to the tune of approximately US $ 58.3 million (approx. Rs.7.7 billion).
The ICIJ said the maximum amount of money associated with a client linked to Sri Lanka was US $ 10.7 million (approx. Rs.1.4 billion) and the country is placed at 112th among “the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files.”
Following this revelation, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in Parliament that the government would conduct an investigation into “Swiss accounts” held by Sri Lankans.
Fenner is the Managing Director of the Basel Institute on Governance, where she also holds the position of Director of the Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery. She has already held these positions from 2005 to 2008, during the founding years of the Institute, and has joined the Institute again in late 2011 after three years in Australia and Oxford, United Kingdom. During these intermittent years, she advised governments, donors, international organisations and multinational corporations in governance and anti-corruption related topics as well as organisational change and development processes and policy design.
Before joining the Basel Institute, from 2000 to 2005, she worked at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris managing anti-corruption programmes in the Asia-Pacific region. She also played a key role in establishing the Asian Development Bank (ADB)/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific.