Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said the Government of Sri Lanka had signed an MoU with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of Switzerland with the aim of recovering black money stashed away on secret accounts and other deposit schemes in Switzerland.
He said Sri Lanka can solicit international support to investigate complaints lodged with the FCID and the Bribery or Corruption Commission. Referred to by the acronym BASEL in global banking and financial circles, the Committee is a non-profit agency linked to the Swiss government. It has helped to recover money stolen from many countries.
Minister de Silva told Ceylon Today that confidence in secrecy associated with Swiss bank accounts had collapsed in the wake of new European Union rules concerning disclosure. Switzerland as an EU member is obliged to abide by EU laws.
“Thieves hide their money in a manner that cannot be easily traced. But BASEL is the world’s best agency with the expertise to trace black money. They provided that expertise in operations to recover monies stashed away in Swiss banks by some persons from Libya and Ukraine. We are also seeking their technical and other expertise to recover monies spirited away from Sri Lanka,” de Silva said.
He added that BASEL would be helping Sri Lanka free of charge in this endeavour. “That since BASEL helps recover rogue funds, racketeers have now opted to deposit their money in banks in Seychelles, Dubai, Ukraine and the British Virgin Islands,” he said.