Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament on Tuesday that the government would investigate into reports on Swiss accounts of Lankans with the assistance of Parliament, Prime Minister and the President and would inform Parliament of the results.
The minister responding to a special statement by Democratic Left Front Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara said as per Section 15(1) of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act No 6 of 2006, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has the power to receive reports from any institution, a law enforcement agency, a government agency or any agency of another country relating to suspicious transactions.
Relating to newspaper reports regarding Sri Lankans holding accounts in Switzerland, no such institution or law enforcement agency has reported any suspicious transaction to the FIU. It is not in a position to initiate investigations under the provisions of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act (FTRA). Past experience of the FIU with Switzerland shows that they are not cooperative in providing assistance for investigation, he said.
“I will instruct the Central Bank to answer the questions that the media had posed,”Minister Karunanayake said.
Democratic Left Front Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara asked whether the government would investigate into reports regarding 92 Sri Lankan clients holding 129 accounts with a total value of 85 million of Swiss Franc.
MP Nanayakkara said that there were media reports recently to the effect that among those 92 Lankans holding secret accounts in Swiss banks were politicians, businessmen, actresses and models.
According to the reports, the Swiss bank authorities have expressed willingness to share information if the government makes a request through proper channels.
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