23 October, 2020

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AG Advices IGP To Pursue Probes On Avant Garde For Money Laundering

A team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers conducting investigations on the latest vessel carrying a consignment of arms for Avant Garde Maritime Services have sealed several containers with weapons.

Former secretary to the MOD - Gotabaya

Former secretary to the MOD – Gotabaya

According to Police sources, officers have found a stock of weapons with foreign serial numbers inside the ship which are not compatible with the documents issued by the defence authorities.

The CID officers began their examination of the ship which is currently docked at the Galle harbour on Saturday night. They had carried out the examination of the ships cargo and questioning of the crew through out today as well.

After examining the ship the CID officers have taken steps to seal three containers with weapons

Meanwhile, the Attorney General has advised the Inspector General of Police to pursue probes on the Avant Garde under the Money Laundering act while discarding possible charges under the firearms ordinance and prevention of terrorism act citing lack of evidence.

The AG’s stand has come under severe criticism from a number of quarters. According to sources some highly placed officials from the AG’s department itself have pointed out that there is enough evidence to charge the Avant Garde under the firearms ordinance.

However, the AG for the time being has strictly ruled out any charges being filed under the firearms ordinance or the PTA.

But according to highly placed sources in the defence establishment, the AG will be forced to change his stand as CID officers probing the latest case have found out serious discrepancies in the documents approved by the Defence Ministry and the weapons cache contained in the floating armoury.

Two days ago Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd issued the statement below;

Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd Media Release With Regard To Merchant Vessel Avant Garde

Proliferation of sea piracy in the Western Indian Ocean resulted in International Maritime Organization (IMO) establishing a High Risk Area in which piracy threat was greater. Many Western Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) started providing security to ships in this HRA, and since Sri Lanka was at one end of the HRA based their operations off Sri Lanka. They also obtained the required weapons belonging to Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) from Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd (RALL) for convenience.

Whilst providing these weapons to those maritime security companies, 197 weapons belonging to GOSL were misplaced, as once issued from Colombo, there was no way of monitoring them.

Avant Garde then conceptualised and proposed to GOSL a system to eliminate any possibility of misplacing, but instead properly account for weapons once issued by RALL, through the establishment of many operational centres in the periphery of the Indian Ocean in a ‘Closed Circuit Network’ (CCN) where any RALL weapon issued from one location had to be returned to any other location of this closed circuit network. Floating Armouries were to complement the CCN wherever land operational centres were not possible. Then there was to be a guarantee that any weapon issued would be returned. The proposal also entailed that the entire investment to be borne by Avant Garde without a cent being invested by GOSL.

Since the proposal was conceptualised and proposed by Avant Garde, it has the intellectual right to it.

Consequently, the CCN was established in 2012 through a joint venture with RALL where the accountability of weapons in those operational centres were to be by RALL representatives. These weapons were approved by theMOD. The operation progressed satisfactorily and smoothly. In 2014, the ship Used as the floating armoury in Red Sea was replaced by another ship from Sri Lanka, which was renamed as MV Avant Garde and set sail from Colombo on 07 April.

Transparency of the operation was assured by regular reporting to MOD and RALL, and the full Operation has been clearly shown in the Avant Garde web site (www.avantmaritime.com) from the inception. The venture continued successfully and the CCN concept of Avant Garde ensured that not a single weapon was misplaced since then. There was international acclaim of this operation and the model was suggested to be taken as a template for other Operators by authorities of the calibre no less than the Indian Navy Commander and the UK based Security Association of Maritime Industry (SAMI).

However, events in January 2015 leading to the baseless detention of the floating armoury at Galle; MV Mahanuwara, caused many international Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs), till that time reliable clients of Avant Garde, to abandon Avant Garde and migrate to alternative solutions greatly reducing the business of Avant Garde. By the time Avant Garde was cleared by Galle Magistrate and the Attorney General’s department, the damage has already been done.

The resultant loss of revenue made the business untenable, and RALL was apprised of the situation at many meetings, as well as in writing, that the floating armoury in the Red Sea will have to be therefore, withdrawn.

Consequently, arrangements were made to withdraw the floating armoury in the Red Sea to return to Sri Lanka. In addition to the daily weapon report prepared by the RALL representative on board, an independent list of items on board was prepared by the RALL representative on board; Lt Col Albert Tillekaratne. The list was sent to RALL and the Head of the RALL Armoury, Major Wijekoon confirmed to its accuracy.

Thereafter, on 22 Sep, RALL was requested for armed guards for the passage through the High Risk Area (HRA), which is a security measure adopted by any ship, and the MOD approved it on 23 Sep keeping all other relevant authorities, including the Sri Lanka Navy, informed (MOD letter No MOD/CS/ SS/ RAKNA/ 20 dated 23 Sep). Therefore, the contention of the Sri Lanka Navy that it was unaware of the vessel was in the least, preposterous.

The vessel left the Red Sea on 24 Sep, and at the same time a letter was originated seeking approval of RALL to transfer the consignment of weapons, ammunition and associated equipment to its armory at Galle once the ship arrived in Galle (Chairman Avant Garde Letter No AST/STP/ 13 dated 24 Sep 2015). The Secretary of MOD accepted receipt of that letter at a recent media interview. However, the approval to it was not as prompt as should have been, hence the ship, having arrived off the port of Galle, remained in international waters outside Sri Lanka territorial waters and Galle port limits awaiting the approval.

When the ship left Red Sea, there was a request to embark and return to Sri Lanka 3 Sri Lankan sea marshals who have been in the employment of a foreign PMSCs (Tundra) based in Sri Lanka. They were provided the facility as supernumeraries of the ship, which is not unusual. The PMSC local agent, MALSHIP, in its efforts to disembark these 3 Sri Lankan Sea Marshals expeditiously, has submitted a request to DHM Galle, which is not within their purview, and in has entered a wrong name as the captain of the vessel.

The document seeking clearance of a ship is submitted by the ship’s local agent, and MALSHIP has no business to do it even to clear its own personnel. That needs to be done by the ships local agent. Therefore, whatever MALSHIP has submitted has no validity at all. It perplexing why DHM Galle accepted such an invalid request when it should have been simply disregarded and discarded. Neither Avant Garde nor the ship’s local agent, Sri Lanka Shipping Ltd, was aware of MALSHIP request, and even if any of them were aware, it would have been dismissed as irrelevant and invalid. An investigation, if any, should be initiated as to why DHM Galle even accepted it, let alone publicise it and release a totally irrelevant, wrong and damning information to the public.

The ship, MV Avant Garde, remained outside the port limit in international waters awaiting clearance from MOD. This is the usual practice of any ship awaiting whatever clearance or approval. Even then, for good order, Avant Garde made it a point to keep Mr. Victor Samaraweera; Chairman RALL, Adm Jayantha Perera; Presidential Advisor on Maritime Affairs, Senior Additional Secretary; MOD, Mr. DMS Dissanayaka, and Secretary RALL; Mr. DRM Ranatunga informed about the ship waiting outside awaiting MOD clearance to transfer the consignment to RALL armoury.

The MOD gave approval on 6 Oct 2015 (MOD Letter No MODUD/CS/FA/AT dated 6 Oct ’15), which was received at 9.45 am. but the Sri Lanka Navy boarded the ship just 30 minutes before and assumed command. The action of the Navy is shocking in view of it being informed regularly of the progress as indicated above.

It is relevant at this juncture to emphasise that Avant Garde has always conformed to national and international laws from the inception and, as mentioned earlier, has been receiving accolades and admirations from players of the industry as well as independent international experts in maritime affairs.

Also, there is no discrepancy whatsoever in the consignment of weapons, ammunition and associated equipment maintained by RALL representatives on board and exactly tallies with details available at RALL armoury.

In light of above, the reason for selective targeting of Avant Garde is the mystery, not anything that it has alluded to have done.

It is clear that many envious business contenders are at the bottom of these efforts to disrupt activities of Avant Garde, but unfortunately without realising the great and irrevocable damage done to the country in general and Sri Lankan shipping industry in particular. Galle has become a thriving business centre for ship agents and that is now being threatened affecting livelihood of many.

Despite all this, the projection of this incident as a mysterious event appears to be a systematic effort to mislead the public at large. There are over 15 floating armoun’es operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Oman servicing many foreign PMSCs, and Avant Garde was the undoubted business leader made possible by its incise knowledge of the business, until deriding rhetoric in Sri Lanka casted a shadow over the stability of its business. It has caused many clients to take business with Avant Garde elsewhere, losing invaluable foreign exchange to the country and depriving respectable employment opportunities to many retired ex-servicemen war heroes who have sacrificed their youth for others to live peacefully. What a travesty!

It is also relevant to mention that the concepts and operational planning of Avant Garde conforming to national and international laws and obligations to maintain its legitimacy are being conducted by many specialists and experts in the field, comprising of 2 former Navy Commanders, a former Director General of the Coast Guard, a former Chief of Staff of the Army, 2 former Dle, 3 senior retired civil servants, very senior foreign Naval officers, supported by many other very senior and well respected senior military officers. They assure complete accountability and transparency of all Avant Garde activities and such an experienced team is unlikely to be found in any other business organisation in the world. The expertise of those people should not be undermined nor ridiculed. Unfortunately that appears to be happening in Sri Lanka, where allegations are being made without any grounds whatsoever, in deriding rhetoric to mislead the general public, which could be considered as downright betrayal.

Major General (Retd) Rohan Kaduwela
Head of Secretariat (AGMS Operations)
Date : 16 October 2015

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Latest comments

  • 21
    1

    The actual problem in SL is that even though the government has changed, the complete inside working system remains unchanged. Unfortunately that system is the racist mahinda’s cloth washing average sinhalese who really hate RW and MS.

    • 11
      0

      Sri Lanka is now turning out to be a country where the image of the Judiciary is getting reburnished and Police Force – particularly the inquiry mechanism – is getting its bearings right. AG’s Dept. is now noting the change.

      Insects habituated to breaking through frayed webs are getting entangled. Untouchable ‘Greats’ are now being correctly handled and cut to size. All the overmighties are now in jitters, preparatory to being in fetters.

      • 5
        1

        Not seen any of the sources of corruption (i.e. top level politicians) on the dock, charged with an identifiable and provable offense. All the negative publicity has been to mislead the voting public, and to waste time as an excuse for not cleaning up the shit left by MR regime.The new government and the sheltering past rogues in it are more interested in spreading the muck for another 5-years.

    • 7
      2

      AG’s dealings are obviously mired in mystery more often than not.

      How come this vital institution and its employees are not held to standards of transparency we expect from others? Is Sri Lanka’s AG above the law?

      I have come to realize AG is more rotten than both Sri Lanka Police and Prisons department put together.

      Why is the AG consulting the PM (a politician) on matters of due process? Why do we tolerate this kind of corrupt officials in such vital positions?

      So far, only General Fonseka and AKD have had the balls to take the bull by the horns.

      We better support them to make sure Sri Lanka’s corrupt legal fraternity is shown their rightful place in society.

      Cheers!

  • 10
    1

    If anyone with an atom of brown stuff inside the brain would realize that a person holding the position Asst. Solicitor General (ASG) would not have given a report with details of a case referred to him for observation and recommendations. That report gave conclusive, authoritative and responsible recommendations to AG to approve follow up action on the case investigated by the the CID in relation to Avant Gard and Rakna Lanka. The report also recommended the arrest of five persons including the former Secretary of Defense Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse. For unknown reasons AG had consulted the Prime Minister on the related subject and he (PM) had prevented the arrest of the persons named including Mr. GR. Not stopping at that when the case came up in Gall courts, AG shamelessly withdrew the case citing “lack of evidence” to pursue the matter further. Tow matters of concern for the public are: (1) Why AG first consulted the PM on the case without first rejecting report of ASG?. If ASG’s report was rejected then and there, the necessity to consult the PM would not have arisen, although it is still “Unethical” for which reason this AG must be taken to task including disciplinary action. (2)The Prime Minister has no “Legal” or “Administrative Authority” to direct the AG on what to do or not do in matters coming withing the Judiciary and Law Enforcement. Why the PM is not taken to task for “Undue Interference” in matters that are handled by the Law Enforcement and the Judiciary?. Properly speaking there must be an “Impeachment Motion” brought against him in Parliament in relation to this matter. Enough of evidence has been given in Parliament by the Opposition Whip in his statement relating to this matter. In short this episode can be described in my village language as: Horungeth Horu, Kamba Horu. This is nothing but “You scratch my back, I will scratch your back”. At the end we “Dogs will bark, but the caravan will continue”. Amen!

    • 4
      2

      Douglas

      “If anyone with an atom of brown stuff inside the brain would realize that a person holding the position Asst. Solicitor General (ASG) would not have given a report with details of a case referred to him for observation and recommendations.”

      Isn’t it Grey Matter?

      You may be right, Grey Matter could have muted into brown matter given that Sri Lankans are made in this island, a unique species.

      Sorry to bother you.

    • 5
      1

      If PM RANIL interfered with AG’s actions & PREVENTED GOTA’S ARREST, then we should conclude that some of those US$100 MILLIONS a MONTH income of Avant Garde GONE to TEMPLE TREES as well.

    • 1
      2

      Is it possible that Ranil wants MR and GR to remain there is place, unharmed for as long as possible in order to keep the SLFP split to the benefit of the UNP?
      Sengodan. M

      • 2
        0

        MR & GR cannot live anymore in peace, despite the long rope given by RW as a
        political tactic, because Sajin is out and the in-fighting over the spoils has
        begun. It is reported elsewhere in the web that Sajin has said:

        “Don’t be afraid. I will save you, sir. I only revealed one per cent. I haven’t revealed 99 pc yet. Don’t believe what the websites fabricate. But, if you get worried and try to be smart, and use your sons to harass my wife, I will have to take a decision. Therefore, keep silent.” I haven’t revealed any of the secrets in your personal life. I do not break families. Tell Gota to leave me alone. He cannot stand me ever. If he tries to give information about me unnecessarily, I know what to do to him. Not only Dubai, I will reveal the rest too. I will tell them to get the rest from Gamini Senarath. Therefore, leave me alone. If so, all of us can escape.”

        The AG can set the ball rolling and RW will have to pull back.

  • 15
    1

    Kick this AG ‘s ass & probe his bank accounts , because this ompany is making average US$ 100 million a month.

    Or else people will kick Ranil – Maithri out

  • 15
    0

    Why are we waiting for???
    For the Auspicious time??
    Put the buggers behind bar for MONEY LAUNDERING. STOP TALKING , DO IT NOW.

  • 3
    4

    Since JRJ time, every govt became more corrupt than the previous. Even this govt knows many thefts.

    This is mostly ruining a successful company for political revenge.

    Every minister in the govt or in the previous govt is a thief and they amassed high wealth all through immoral, illegal means.

    MY3 is playing a different political gwme in this.

    Tamil prisoners is another fame played by RanilW.

    Country is a victim.

    • 8
      0

      Jim softy

      “Country is a victim.”

      I hate to agree with you. A small correction, the country has been victim since 1948, umpteenth times.

      The country has been raped, stabbed, murdered,humiliated, traumatized, …. by people like you.

      You should be charged for mental cruelty and sentenced to live with MR, Gota, Wimal, Nalin, Mervyn, his son, ….. for the rest of your life.

      • 0
        0

        You failed to mention abused, sodomized, traumatized, crushed, clean shaven, victimized………………

  • 1
    0

    So here is the summary of media release from Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd to validate its business plan:

    ————
    “Many Western Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) obtained weapons belonging to Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) from Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd or Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd (RALL) for convenience.”

    “Whilst providing these weapons to those maritime security companies, 197 weapons belonging to GOSL were misplaced, as once issued from Colombo, there was no way of monitoring them.”
    ————-

    So GOSL can legally rent arms to private companies that can’t even track its own inventory?

    Even baby dipper boxes are required to be tracked for quality control in places where jungle rules are prohibited.

    But private companies in SL somehow rent arms from the government of Sri Lanka and don’t even bother to take responsibilities for missing inventory?

    In summary, Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) is illegally selling arms to black market. And GOSL can not do anything about it!

  • 1
    0

    Native Vedda: You are correct. It should be gray matter; but I purposely termed it “brown matter”, because that is the colour it takes when it gets rotten and dead. I forgot to mention one more thing in my comment, i.e if the Parliamentarians such as Weerawansa, Dinesh, Vasu, Gammanpila, Dallas are really so worried over the misdoings of this Government, I urge them to get together with their “Leader” Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse and bring forward a “No Confidence” motion against the Prime Minister for undue interference with the Judiciary and the Law Enforcement Agencies in relation to this subject of Avant Gard and Rakna Lanka corruptions. Here is the challenge. Are you willing to take it up?

  • 2
    0

    It is quite evident that the AG himself is dragging his feet on many matters. Is there any provision in the law to bring him to book. After all the AG represents the interests of the people by ensuring that the law is adhered to and justice is sought. But this not the case with this AG.

  • 2
    0

    When there is a change of government in the developed world, the first thing they do is to get an official briefing on the security issues and the economy from the relevant high officials. Then the new officials will be able to put in place the actions required to make any policy changes in line with the new government in power.

    Our country does not seem to be doing this. If it did, events like the ‘Milleneum disaster’ and the ‘Avant Garde’ debacle would not have occurred.

    Even after a change of government, the so called responsible persons of confidential business carry on as if nothing has changed. One reason may be that they are carrying out illegal activities in breach of existing legislation as is suggested by the “Avant Garde’ case. This is something that needs to be considered in the new proposed constitution so that it is embedded in law.

  • 7
    0

    The three leading UNPers Thilak Marapona the minister of law and order, Wijedasa Rajapaksa the minister of justice and Ranil wickramasinghe the prime minister will take all necessary action to safeguard the interests of Avant-Garde Security Services’ top brass and protect them. President Sirisena will not interfere as he wants to have the National Government of corupt SLFPers intact.

  • 13
    0

    AG is trying to fool the public. According to JVP Leader Anura, 15 telephone calls were made by Avant Guarde owner to AG Office in a time span of one month. There is a deal in place. AG is Just trying to hoodwink the ordinary people.

    • 0
      3

      I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill on the tel calls.It may be 15,but how do you know whether each was for a minute only.It may be that avant garde owner just asked the AG whether he checked his bank account.

  • 7
    1

    As Field Marshal SF said, first you need to defeat the supporters of MURDEROUS & MOST CORRUPT MARA FAMILY.

    For that to happen, concerted effort needs to be made to rid the Family of their ill gotten wealth. It is the bones and flesh of that booty which is thrown at these public crocodiles, who are waiting to make merry of the loot of MARA & FAMILY.

    Unless and otherwise this burning issue is addressed, MARA FAMILY will buy over all the important Officers in the Civil Services and Judiciary and make a mockery of the whole system.

    Sadly we are a country of people where a majority of us , will sell our souls for a song. True patriots and selfless officers are a rare find. Pathetic but true.

    • 1
      0

      To bring the edifice down, the pillars of siblings, sons and familial appendages have to be demolished first. When the debris is locked up,the pure white Ex President will be seen in absolute black.

    • 3
      0

      1) Mafia king had been engaged in bribing even before he became the president ( 2005 Presidential election bribing Prabakaran )

      2) Mafia King continued to engaged in bribing the opposition politicians throughout his tenure for his long term survival.

      3) Mafia king has extended his dirty habit even after losing the presidential and premiership battles .

  • 3
    0

    Major General (Retd) Rohan Kaduwela,
    Sir, please show us the tender issued by the GoSL or the Ministry of Defense (MOD) calling for bidding that gave Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) the exclusive and uncontested right to operate as a PMSC (Private Maritime Security Company)? Don’t sweat too much General to produce that memorandum calling for an “illusive” tender because I know for certain that nothing existed at the time. In 2012, AGMS branded itself as a new business model concocted by two masterminds named GoatabayaR and NissankaS to illegally make money with impunity by carrying, trading and smuggling arms in international waters with vessels bearing our national flag and using our government as a cover-up. Your operations are not a secret to the international community and defense agencies world wide because I serve as a defense analyst and expert witness to many operations dealing with maritime security and piracy in the High Risk Area (HRA) from Port Said in the Suez to Port Tuticorin-India overseeing and scrutinizing operations. The ICC-IMB also appointed their own top military veterans like myself and came up with the following findings that I share below for our readers.

    http://www.seacurus.com/newsletter/Seacurus_Issue_19.pdf

    http://remotecontrolproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/FloatingArmouriesReport.pdf

    In 2012, Goata and Nissanka signed a MOU which by itself an underhand defense agreement to formalize a new business model for AGMS where both parties could cream the profits by eliminating the SL Navy and with that short cash the SL Government from this earning by monopolizing this niche in the defense industry. So we don’t need your company’s gifts by the millions to cover up the lies and lobbying to hear this crock from you General.

  • 3
    0

    You guys are not well informed.
    After ASG Navaratna Bandara PC gave the report recommending indictment, AG had asked ASG Jayantha Jayasuriya PC and also ASG Kapila Waidyaratne PC. These two are the 3rd and the 4th in the hierarchy of the AGs dept. they have all said that Gota, Nissanka Senadipathy and others should be indicted in the high court on Illegal firearms, under explosives ordinance and Prevention of terrorism act.
    After all this AG decided not to proceed to forward indictment against such suspects.
    This is astounding and unbelievable conduct by an officer who is expected to possess an impeccable conduct and high degree of imtergrity!

  • 0
    2

    Hold your tongue PIYASENA, RW’s First cousin Prof. RW does he too wash clothes of MR ??
    It appears you too an average guy washing RW & MS Yahapalanaya clothes.
    IF YOU ARE NOT SUCH A MORON, KINDLY KEEP YOUR COMMENTS IN KEEPING WITH THE TOPIC please….

    “AG had consulted PM – may be due to the entreprenual aspect of the operation. There are viable projects and non viable projects.
    At this juncture any F/Currency bearing ops is what is wanted.
    Other matters of irregularity either could be straigntend or quietly taken to task instead of disturbing an operation.

    Is the GOSL going to hit JHK for matters arising from the Susantha/Ajith.G feud ????

    ECHO … why sell only 197 weapons ? Whats the big deal here. This is a money making operation. GOSL must take maximum out of it to benefit SL instead of killing it.
    “Field Marshal SF said, first you need to defeat the supporters of MURDEROUS & MOST CORRUPT MARA FAMILY. ” – Anszar
    This sour grapes. SUPORTERS & MOST CORRUPT are on both sides.
    Keep your emotions in check. SF one time Presidential could not return to parliament. Did he loose his deposit as well ?

    “Using SL as a base for weapons was something which was working well, perhaps too well” – Appear in that Seacurus report………….
    UK is unhappy……. who cares….
    lets put it right if its a cash cow & not to destroy it. Its a business………… Rommel.
    Quoting Kaduwela… making him or yourself smart? Leave the AGMS & RALL Ops to Sri Lanka… let brittain have their rules for their Ops and LET GOSL frame our rules.
    Kaduwela you just continue your way. Not heard of a Rtd. Major general Rohan Kaduwela… What was your achivements in the SLA?

    destroy the Ghesse that can lay a golden egg or protect it with new management and a new set of rules………
    For a profitable business venture, destroying is not a the answer.

    Give it a tamil management……..

  • 0
    0

    Biggest Culprit has to be punished

  • 0
    0

    Was avente guard a frech connection to be used for training. Do not be a martyr. mercernary with african connections.

  • 0
    0

    No one here knows what is going on and do not understand the legality behind the decisions of the attorney general and talk with such ignorance. You are NOT lawyers and do not understand why he has made this decision. He has proved himself to be a good, honourable man and it is sad that the people in this country are so ignorant and fed by the poorly informed media in thinking otherwise. We saw his actions on the night of the election and we should not forget that. There are very few ‘good’ people left in the Sri Lankan government and there are going to be less and less since everyone who is leaves as they suffer due to the ignorance of the people. Its actually a very sad situation. The media, including your website and others such as lanka e news, are so poor in quality that they deserve to prosecuted for publishing lies and hopefully the media law in Sri Lanka develops so it becomes easier to go about this. But unless this country changes soon, there really isn’t much hope here.

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