By Zacki Jabbar
With the so-called Panama Papers taking the world by storm, the government said yesterday that it was examining the dealings of some Sri Lankan politicians and companies with offshore financial dealings.
Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development Eran Wickremeratne told the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, that investigations had led them to Seychelles, where 14,000 shell companies had been incorporated but only 204 real owners had been identified.
A Sri Lankan bank had opened a branch in Seychelles and air links had also commenced during the last Rajapaksa government, he noted.
Three companies linked to Sri Lanka with 22 shareholders had been discovered, informed sources said, adding that revealing further details would jeopardise ongoing inquiries.
Amidst several world leaders being named, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday, becoming the first political victim of the mushrooming global scandal over hidden offshore accounts.
The Panama Papers containing 11.5 million leaked documents have revealed the offshore financial activities of 140 political figures.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today that Sri Lanka should now go to Panama to find Sri Lankan owned money.
There are media reports, that the government is awaiting information on the alleged involvement of Sri Lankans in offshore financial dealings as revealed in the Panama Papers of the law firm Mossack Fonseca.
“Now, we all have to go to Panama City to find whether there is Sri Lankan owned money. That revelation was also made by another Fonseca wasn’t it?” he asked. He made this remark when leaving the media briefing held at Temple Trees on the progress of the three-day China visit.
However the government has not yet made an official statement with regard to any investigation launched into the matter. (Piyumi Fonseka)
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