Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today rejected allegations that he invested millions of dollars in the Steel Corporation the Marriot Hotel in Dubai by using businessman Nandana Lokuwithana as a front man.
The Marriott Al Jaddaf Hotel in Dubai is the first ever five star hotel built and owned by a Sri Lankan living overseas.
The owner of the property, Lokuwithana, had reportedly invested US$ 225 million (approximately Rs. 2.9 billion) for the project.
Issuing a statement, Rajapaksa also charged that the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) has been set up with a view to “harassing political opponents” and that it functions as an “extension” of the UNP.
The statement further reads: “The newly set up police unit, the FCID has filed a B report informing the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court that they have begun investigations into a complaint that a sum totalling USD 48 million invested in the Steel Corporation and a sum of USD 190 million invested in the Marriot hotel in Dubai actually belongs to me and that the owner of these properties Nandana Lokuwithana is only a front man.
The B report states that the FCID had commenced this investigation on the basis of an anonymous letter which had been referred to them. The FCID has been set up with a view to harassing political opponents and the legality and propriety of the establishment of this unit is already before the Supreme Court.
It is very unusual for the police to report to courts that they are carrying out an investigation on the basis of an anonymous letter.
The FCID which functions as an extension of the UNP may have filed this B report to convey to the public the false impression that there is a ‘court case’ relating to concealed assets owned by me.
With a parliamentary election in the offing, it would be useful for my opponents to spread such a perception among the public. This is yet another clever and insidious way of carrying out false propaganda against me.
I wish to inform the public that the Steel Corporation and the Dubai Marriot hotel belong to whoever owns them and not to me.”