6 December, 2021

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Finance Minister Ravi K’s Money Laundering Case Postponed

The Colombo High Court yesterday postponed the case against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake who has been charged with allegedly facilitating money laundering, for March 4.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

The case as postponed by High Court Judge Devika de Livera Tennakoon when Defence Counsel Reinzie Arsekualaratne informed the judge that Minister Karunanayake was unable to be present before the Courts yesterday as he was due to present the 2015 interim budget before the parliament.

As there was no objection from the prosecution, the case was postponed to March 4.

The Attorney General indicted Nexia Corporation, Linton Sirisoma and Karunanayake for allegedly facilitating money laundering in violation of Central bank regulations and the Exchange Control Act by depositing Rs. 390 million in a Standard Chartered bank account, which had been later used to purchase shares of the Union Bank. The transfer had been made by Sri Lankan American billionaire and hedge fund dealer Raj Rajarathnam.

During the hearings it was alleged that Karunanayake was directly involved in the fraud and that he intervened to collect the funds once the money was deposited in Sri Lanka.

“Exchange Control is the function of the Central Bank. The Central Bank is governed by the Monetary Board. The Secretary/Finance (Treasury) is a member of the Monetary Board. The Minister of Finance is the Boss of the Secretary/Finance. How nice to have a person charged with Exchange Control crimes as Finance Minister” a good governance activist told Colombo Telegraph.

Responding to the question above a retired secretary to the finance ministry said; “The Exchange Control offence as far as I am aware from a reading of the newspapers is a technical offence, namely the failure to inform the Exchange Controller of an inward remittance of foreign exchange. Actually Exchange control is generally reserved for outward payments and not for inward remittances since the rationale for Exchange Control is to control outward payments which can worsen the balance of payments. After the Money Laundering Act was passed the rationale for reporting of inward remittances above the threshold fixed by the Controller is to control money laundering and terrorist financing. So if the case falls under one of these two there would be a serious situation even if the case is pending and not proved. But if the case is merely for the failure to report to the Controller I think it is a technical offence.”

“The remittance came through the banking system and all such remittances are reported by the banks to the Central Bank in any case. While a departmental inquiry under the Exchange Control Act may have been necessary I am not sure whether it warranted a criminal case to be instituted. Of course I don’t know all the facts and would not want to comment since the matter is sub judice.”

“The late N.U Jayawardene would lament that the biggest mistake he made in his public office was to pass the Exchange Control Act. Exchange Control was introduced by the British colonial ruler to prevent enemy forces undermining Sterling since the British Government was no in a position to convert the pound sterling during the war and even for several years afterwards. There was the Sterling Assets Agreements with the colonies.

“With the end of the war the Defence Regulations lapsed and with it Exchange Control. There was no rationale for retaining Exchange Control as the county did not face any balance of payments problems then. NUJ lamented because he reproduced the Exchange Control Defence Regulations which included inward as well as outward remittances. The new Minister should review this outdated law and amend it suitably if he wants to attract foreign investment to the country. Of course being heavily indebted to foreign bankers and to China the country now needs all inward remittances to be able to repay the foreign debt as it falls due.” he further said.

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Latest comments

  • 24
    2

    How very convenient. Thank you mini budget.

  • 23
    1

    Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

    RE:Finance Minister Ravi K’s Money Laundering Case Postponed

    Interesting.

    How can you tell one politician from the other? They do look like people.

    Is there a Politician Litmus Test?

    Bank Account? Houses?
    Ferraris, Lamborghinis? Horses?

    • 3
      3

      You forgotten elephants, Sharks.:)

  • 19
    6

    In case the court would find RK to be guilty, there have enough capable ones to take over the MINISTRY of Finance. So we dont need to be worried about the future of the way the politics gets forward these days.
    Having watched last night’s Satana on Sirasa PVT sender, I thought Dr. Harsh De Silva is in all spirit to do whatever he can turning the current situation to a prospersous econmy for the country. Eranga Wickremaratne is the othe gem of the current team to get the economy back into right tracks in the months to come. All these men are wholehearted with their mediation in lanken politics. So I see a greater change if the country moves on to the new direction. We the expatriates can also initiate new investments flowing to the country – that means opending revenues for better avenues of the able canddiates of the island nation.

    • 10
      4

      yes agree with you – now the opposition questions as to why the allegations already level against Rajitha and other few in ruling coalitions being not questioned these days. I have no doubt MS-RW team will not bury anyone’s allegations with the forfront backing of JVP as no other times in the history. JVPs direct lead being a member of National Executive Council is a greater impact any cases tending to bury as had been the case in the recent past.
      Like for example, tourist murder case could stay still if British premier and Prince Charles did not exercise the pressure on MR regime. Now though the credit is taken by MR regime to have delivered the justice in that particular case. How many of the smilar cases burried deliberately with the direct mediation of MR should not BE forgotten. People should be fed with almost all FACTS and FIGURES about the high profile frauds being mapped by MR and his oligarchs. There no pardon should be exercised – since it is the general public suffered by their megalomaniac governance.

  • 30
    8

    Wow! What a man we have for Finance Minister! Cant believe my eyes. But then, this is SillyLanka, isn’t it? Suba Anaagathayak JayaWewa!

    • 10
      3

      As Prez Siirisena reiterated on the DAY 1 itself, there are no clean ones today in politics. So his admistration cant just put them a side – since it is like searching for mustard from a household where nobody died. Even his secretary the appointed is said to be no clean, so is the case for other secretaries and the officials too. Almost like all and sudry worked for the previoius regime were infected by Rajapakshe HIGH PROFILE corruption mentality.

      • 0
        0

        our general problem is people of this country are not used to corruption today. Just talk to even academics, they would not say no if they would be offered anything going through illegal manner. The very good example for this is Rajapakshe political appointment of UGC chairman, appointement of Mohan Peris as the CJ (thought MP was not the next candidate to take over the office). Were there any powerful social group, that stood against the CJ Mohan’s appointment. Hardly no. First thing the govt has to do while going thorugh their agenda is to provide the public with facts about the realities of lanken politics. This they can achieve thorugh local print and electronic media. There should be a body to work with them to see whether the news items are neutral. That is the only therapy that could help the long held nation- away from ground realities. After achieving this, they can move on with tranparence n accountablity of whatever whoever would do.
        This nation is held no proper access to country’s politics for such a long time as 15years. There had been various reasons for the latter, but the last few years under MR s guidance it has been accelarated. Cabinet ministers that stay supportive towards good politics today could have done their job properly under MR – by advising him.

  • 14
    23

    WHAT A WRONG AND MISLEADING HEADING!!!
    If the Rajapakses could not have convicted Ravi K for 9 years even with one charge will anyone else have any chance.

    This 3 Million dollars was sent to SL by US Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam towards purchase of shares on the Union Bank. There was NO MONEY LAUNDERING indications at all. THIS WAS CLEAN AFTER TAX US MONEY. It is ridiculous to even mention Money Laundering.

    Ravi K will definitely get acquitted. Because he is innocent.

    Donald Jayantha Gnanakone.

    • 13
      9

      Donald,

      This is the second time round that Ravi Karu is taken to court on the same issue. First time it was dismissed. Besides RK is in possession of a letter of acknowledgement from the Central Bank Head himself when the funds were first transferred. Catch MR not making mince meat of RK if there was any truth to the accusation.

      CT should follow this case and report for the public to know the truth.

    • 6
      2

      Agreed ! if MR cant do it with all his might no one can.

    • 14
      2

      Uncle Donald

      Good to see you back in CT forums again to protect and white wash your buddy brand new FM Ravi K.

      This Ravi fellow is not a saint and but another crook in the spineless UNP band wagon with bad track records both in CWE and Haylies. Please remeber people in Sri Lanka do not have short memories. The carnival of Vanni Gamaya MY3 has just started and still a long way to go. Plerase do not get too comfortable my dear.

      By the way, a bless from the Mannar Bis-hope for few more years.

  • 18
    6

    Personally I have absolutely nothing against RK. Further I was a big supporter for change in government under MS and I am still elated by the change we have experienced as a nation.

    As a Sri Lankan I want our country to prosper under true democracy. It is quite evident that RK fixed the budget presentation for the 29th to completely avoid his appointment with the law. He claims in this interview that he will first attend court and then go to parliament to present the budget. Something he seems to have cleverly avoided. All politicians whether it is this government or the past, must know that in a world where the power of media has shifted from private/government institutions into the hands of the people, must be conscious of what they say as they will be held accountable by the people even if the court of law fails.

    So I find RK GUILTY and he must be held accountable and be categorised with the Rajapakases. See what he says in his own words here:

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/62023/china-s-economic-presence-in-sl-needs-to-be-reduced-to-eliminate-corruption

    • 3
      13

      Potshot,
      I am not a fan of RK but I did vote for change. Your point about RK fixing 29th Jan to avoid being in Court is WRONG. I was present in High Court No. 1 and RK (immaculately dressed in a light brown suit)and two others were also present in HC 1 from around 9.45am to about 11.30 until his case was called up. RK and the other two defendants did stand up in the defence box when the case was called up. So he did NOT avoid court appearance.
      Lets not make false assumptions about motives. – M. Zainudeen

      • 11
        0

        M. Zanudeen,

        I am only going by the article in CT. We average people don’t have the privileges like you have and have to rely on media reports. But indeed if you are correct, I will stand corrected and apologise for my comment.

        “The case as postponed by High Court Judge Devika de Livera Tennakoon when Defence Counsel Reinzie Arsekualaratne informed the judge that Minister Karunanayake was unable to be present before the Courts yesterday as he was due to present the 2015 interim budget before the parliament.

        As there was no objection from the prosecution, the case was postponed to March 4″

      • 9
        0

        @M. Zainudeen
        “….and RK (immaculately dressed in a light brown suit)and two others ….”

        Wow. Impressions do really count. And Zainudeen has clearly been impressed with the “immaculately dressed” RaviK .Even the colour of the suit has had an effect on the impressionable Zainudeen. See what a smart suit and tie can do to mask the most insidious of crimes. Lets not forget that even murderers and mafia criminals in the US/UK are snazzily dressed when they make court appearances. Fooling the judges eh?

        • 2
          8

          Pol Modaya
          You seem to be confused with an ‘observation’ and an ‘impression’
          I reported my observation and never claimed that I was impressed. Of course there are a lot of crooks who dress well. But the point I was making was that I physically saw RK in the Colombo High Court (No. 1) and therefore Potshot’s assertion about RK fixing the mini budget for the 29th to avoid Court appearance. If you can’t understand the difference, then you shouldn’t be commenting on.Perhaps too much to expect from someone with your name! Cheers

  • 7
    9

    But what is the loss to the country from this,that is what i can’t understand.For him to have committed a crime there should be a loss to someone or the country,i fail to see any loss here.raj rajaratnam sending some money to buy shares,for heavens sake,where is the loss/crime here?

    Is it a crime to buy shares,If so we can kiss goodbye to capital markets in srilanka.This kind of money is running around in billions of dollars every day in HK and here for less than 4 million dollars what a fuss.

    • 14
      0

      haven’t you heard of money laundering ? – its not clean money – Raj Rajathnam is a convicted criminal with LTTE ties

      • 0
        0

        double standards

        when the tsunami struck you took 5 million USD form raj to build houses.I was reading a guy in galle praising him for the house that he lives in. If he sent a similar amount to buy shares in the union bank you say it is money laundering.He also purchased millions of dollars worth of shares in JKH.

        You should understand how money laundering works.A reputed bank like standard chartered would not have accepted money from the US if it has not been cleared by the authorities there.This seems to be another trumped up charge by the previous regime against its political opponents.After they took control of the judiciary they can do anything.Bring charges against ravi for not following some procedures etc,but money laundering what a laugh.

        You say Raj’s money was not clean money.Did raj paly out his depositers like sakvithi etc?He made money using insider information.Everyone in wall street does it, only one man got caught using telephone tapping for the first time by the police.He and some of his indian pals were targeted because they were asians.So many white fellows were doing it but nobody charged.

        In wall street everyone is trying to get some inside information before it becomes public.You try to make some money as a day trader and see whether you can?but others do and you can see well before the information is made public to you the market has turned because others have got it maybe 5 to ten minutes earlier,which is more than enough to make a millions of dollars.

        be proud of a man who boldly went there and made money beating many whites at their own game until they taught him where his rightful place should be,without slandering him as a criminal.

        As for the connection to the LTTE that you mention,he had contributed 3.5m dollars after the tsunami to the TRO,but that was functioning in srilanka as an NGO.later on the government said it is a front organisation of the LTTE and had its assets frozen.How the hell can raj know that when the government itself did not and allowed it to operate freely.With his busy shedule he would have thought he is giving money for for rehabilitation and reconstruction.He gives to many causes not only for this.he has given millions of dollars to clear the mines after seeing a child who lost both legs.he was the 236th richest american and if he did not give for srilanka then you all would have villified him as a bugger who has forgotten his motherland.he was in john keels when the tsunami stuck and took out his chequebook and wrote out 5 million dollars.Is he a tsunami hora for doing that with laundered money?did srilanka yet get the money that shane warne pledged?

  • 23
    3

    Ravi K is a famous dubious deal maker. It is also a fact that he ruined SATHOSA.

    • 19
      0

      and fired from Hayleys too.

    • 12
      0

      What happened to lalith atulatmudails bank joint accounts with RK. he did not spend that on srimanis election campaign.

    • 2
      8

      Sathosa was ruined and run down by the SLFP led govts for some time where the cronies were filled in to Sathosa, who robbed Sathosa whole sale. UNP also filled them with their catchers. Infact Ravi K gave a face lift to Sathosa to compete with the Super Markets. It was MR who started to close Sathosa outlets and continued some as Budget Shops thereafter.

      Do not comment for the sake of commenting with untruths.

  • 11
    5

    It may well turn out that it’s a purely technical blunder and RK is not guilty of money laundering. However it would have been better that Ranil and Sirisena waited till the court case was out of the way before making RK the Fiance Minister.

    But there is something else that is more important. Somebody who is into Rs 390 million, albeit perfectly legal, financial transactions is clearly a very rich man and an entrenched member of the capitalist class. I would rather vote for the JVP which is closer to and can better represent the interests of the ordinary people of Lanka.

    • 14
      2

      i suppose you have forgotten the 2 insurrections where thousands of people were butchered and murdered.
      oh yes that makes the JVP closer to the people and better represent them.

    • 4
      11

      EW Golding

      I don’t think the money belongs to him.The article mentions that raj rajaratnam had sent it to buy shares in union bank.ravi may have just handled or facilitated the transaction.i don’t think he is that wealthy.

  • 10
    0

    Accountability is applicable to all in a transparent MY3 governance! If Basil, MR and others are going to be prosecuted they should fast track older cases!!! I think it will be a blessing for good governance and the UNP, by the way Rienzie Arsacularatne is crooked on par with the likes of Mohan Peiris! ,,!

  • 7
    0

    Here we go again. First dish out the dirt then let the law takes over it and either Convict or Acquit That will be the Right thing in the eyes of the law . As general public who do we trust??

  • 4
    3

    Since the money was getting transferred from the US, the due diligence was already conducted at US front with regards to money laundering! !!! I don’t see any issue here with RK. Also, RR case in US was more a manipulated one courtesy the great greedy….certain neighbour countrymen. You need RR like personalities in our great SL.

  • 11
    2

    Good on you Ravi..

    Please look after our Elite, Anglican, Vellala and SLMC moolah with the same, zest,like you have done with the Galleon Dollars for the last 9 years…

    And make them grow bigger and bigger with the impending hike in in interest rates in your God Parent’s land.

    Our Dalits have nothing to worry because they have no moolah.

    But please, please don’t [Edited out] our CWE and CTB this time.

    Because they are the only two avenues which are in place to protect our Dalits from Rice Mafia Private Bus Mafia.

  • 19
    2

    Sad situation.

    From crooks to crooks. No future for SL.

    We expected better My3.

  • 17
    2

    Most of those in the present UNP government are crooks and corrupt politicians, except perhaps Ranil and a couple of others.

    Look at that bastard from Mannar. He was reportedly a centless guy but now known to be a billionaire thanks to Rajapakse brothers.

    So much for puppet President Sirisena’s good governance.

    • 5
      7

      Why look at ONLY Rishard ? how about Karuna and Pillayan? they were living in the jungle and now have accumulated huge amount of wealth EVEN after KILLING innocent people… The MR govt say, they have turned over a new leaf and should be given a 2nd chance.. I’d ask them, did these terrorists give a 2nd chance to those killed inside places of worship while on their knees kissing the ground.? NO these are cowards who hit below the belt using heavy weapons.. SO THEY NEED TO BE TAKEN TO TASK, PROVED GUILTY, Their assets retaken and handed over to the CENTRAL BANK.. and locked up for good.. moreover MR, Goata, Namal, Sajin Vas, Basil,Johnston, Wimal, Mohan Peiris and others PLUNDERED the national wealth that rightly belongs to the citizenry.. retake all their assets too n give back to the CB and throw all of em in jail before the 100 days, so that they would not be able to contest at the election and brought in as PEOPLES REPRESENTATIVES… Enough is Enough

    • 3
      8

      Must be one of those rice eating cow, who voted for MR

  • 5
    5

    First or all let me clarify this..
    The Attorney General indicted Nexia Corporation, Linton Sirisoma

    Its rather Lincoln Piyasena who is a senior Partner of BR de Silva Auditors and Nexia is their secretarial arm which is involved in here.

    As I have inside information there may be a slight exchange control issue here though its never a money laundering charge and Rajapaksas keep this case to silence Ravi K for so long using dirty tactics.

    Im not a great fan or Ravi K at all., but comparing this case for what Rajapaksas have done is beyond compare.

    Im sure Ravi K will come clean in here if there is no political intervention as happened with Rajapaksas to make their opponents victim.

    All Im concern is if Matithree administration will pervert the rule of law and intervene in this case.

  • 12
    0

    In this banana Republic a person charged for money laundering is the finance minister. The person lied to Supreme Court to postpone 3 cases on the basis that he is in the parliament while appearing in Fort magistrates court is the minister of justice. The law student who several times repeated is the minister of education. God may forgive the sinners.

  • 13
    2

    The most important Job for the one who ruined Sathosa. Ravi K’s Money Laundering Case Postponed and it will be in the bin soon. He will be saved. This is what you call yahapalanaya. JR and his Dharmishta palanaya. MY3 and his Yahapalanaya.

    MR and Mahinda chinthena had substance and achieved a lot. president Sirisena give credit where due and Tell the world what MR’s Govt achieved. Not provide allegations.

    • 2
      6

      Botox men/women/eunachs of your kind seem to be not getting it, but price reductions of most essentials have made a tangible change in the suffering world deliberately created by MR and thugs.

  • 8
    0

    Gnanakone Union bank shares purchase were over subscribes. Everyone knew when the IPO was out.
    How come RAvi.K thought he could invest 3m??

    At the end of the day Ravi.K would have been offered 500 shares.
    Did he at least get that ??

    So it was a mere co-incidence for the min budget to have been fixed for 29/Jan……….
    Did Ravi.K forget the date or Arsekularatnes did not notify him?
    OR
    Which astrologer did Ravi.K hire to introduce the Budget? same that Aberwardene guy?

  • 3
    0

    It is not Linton Sirisoma who was indicted but Lincoln Piyasena senior partner from B R De Silva & Co audit firm.

    Please get facts correct.

  • 2
    6

    This is an inward remittance and banks would have known and anyway reported to CBSL. This is not an outward remittance where you require permission.

    Raj is sending money to Ravi to buy shares in the stock market. What is the issue?

    Would like to know why Lincoln Piyasena from B R De Silva auditors was involved.

  • 11
    0

    WHAT A COUNTRY WE HAVE. A FINANCE MINISTER WITH MONEY LAUNDERING ACCUSATIONS.
    Hilarious. Cannot believe this is happening.

    • 6
      1

      Nothing new; We had a Prime Minister who dealt in drugs by the container-load. And his son who was his Private Secretary assisted the unscrupulous papa in his illegal trade by forging his signature.

      • 3
        0

        @Ponzi Cabbaral:

        Why, what about a First Lady who was an expert dealer in stolen gold and an undercover agent for the Undiyal guardians of the nefarious Temple deeds in Madras?

  • 7
    0

    Here comes equity of justice!!Very good ruse to avoid facing courts. For any one charged before the courts, only reason to absent himself from courts is medical grounds. Ministers can manoeuvre it however they like. This is what Jayalalitha did in Tamil nadu for a long time.
    President MS made a blunder in appointing someone who already had a case pending in the courts.

  • 8
    0

    Ravi Karunanayake purposely selected 29th to present his interim budget, knowing very well that he has to attend courts on that day. This was mainly to avoid being present in courts. Now he has enough time to defrost his account that was frozen by the Central Bank with 3 million US dollars (400 Million Rupees) which he received illegally from the International swindler and LTTE financier Raj Rajaratnam who is in jail in the USA.

  • 0
    0

    Yahapalanaya

  • 1
    0

    Hey Donald- Noticeably you’re trying to defend your buddy and that’s fine by me and the most of the readers here HOWEVER don’t even think about obliging different interpretations to ‘Money Laundering’ (ML) and that’s clearly against the money laundering Act. ML is a crime (international) which can take place in many forms. To prevent ML happening in many jurisdictions of the world, the global organisations introduced the term anti money laundering (AML) and the regulator also developed forty recommendations on ML and nine recommendations regarding funding terrorism. Raj Rajarathnam had transferred the dollars for not only to buy the shares and also to distribute the monies to the LTTE through RK and his allied. Fortunately for RK who happens to live in SL, if it’s elsewhere he would have been sentenced for many years and already in behind bars. Only God knows as to why he’s still freely out there given that there were many strong evidence available against him. It’s disgrace that new coalition government appointed him as the finance minister which clearly shows that they haven’t a slenderest clue as to how serious these ML allegations are. I’m sorry that Donald is lack in his ML gen and also goes onto envisage his buddy’s acquittal which is a miracle BUT it’s still possible in SL justice system.

  • 0
    0

    the best part for the present govt is to show its crediblility to public by removing him now itself as during his last tenure he had lot of miss handling with sathosa fund so better for him to go and there is much capable harsha de silva shoots the job better i feel

  • 0
    1

    All,

    This transaction does not fall under money laundering.

    Funds remitted from and to a licensed financial institution. These large value transactions gets reported at both ends as per UN mandate. In particular as Ravi K is a “POLITICALLY EXPOSED” person there is mandatory reporting that would have taken place.

    This is more a technical and a more politically driven situation and should be no issue. Ravi K has NOT violated international convention governing large value remittance.

    He is all good to go.

    Upul Arunajith

  • 5
    0

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, RK should resign immediately as Minister of Finance. Otherwise My3 should call for his resignation. The country simply cannot afford to have a man tainted with fraud and money laundering charges as Finance Minister. Otherwise, make him Minister of Womens Affairs (atleast), to save the country from further disgrace. Not Finance Minister by any chance. No Way Hose.

  • 3
    0

    The finance minister of Sri Lanka is charged for money laundering. I thought we have learnt something from the previous government. We wanted a change and that is why we voted MY3 to bring that change. Yet, in a way he is also protecting criminals.

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