The offices of Lycamobile, owned by Sri Lankan born Subaskaran Allirajah was raided by French Police, with 19 people working for the company arrested in connection with a multi-million pound tax and money laundering scandal. Lycamobile is the UK conservative Party’s biggest donor, and Allirajah is alleged to be an associate of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Lycamobile, the multinational telecoms giant, which has given at least £2.2m to Prime Minister David Cameron’s party since 2011, including half-a-million last year alone, also allowed Boris Johnson to use one of their call centres during his successful 2012 campaign to become Mayor of London.
There are allegations that Allirajah was involved in embezzling millions of dollars from Sri Lanka through associates who were close to Rajapaksa.
According to, BuzzFeed News, Sri Lankan authorities are scrutinizing a deal in which the state telecoms company was forced to pump around $10 million into a “completely flawed” venture owned jointly by a relative of Rajapaksa and a key offshore company in the Lycamobile business network.
The raid follows an investigation by BuzzFeed that caught Lycamobile ‘employing three cash couriers to drop rucksacks stuffed with hundreds of thousands of pounds twice a day at Post Offices scattered across London,’ according to the news site.
Bundles of cash were seized in raids on Lycamobile’s Paris headquarters, and a series of residential and business addresses across the city, while the company’ s French bank accounts have since been frozen.
Lycamobile’s Sri Lankan-born owner, Subaskaran Allirajah, is a member of the exclusive Leader’s Group for top Tory donors.
He has dined with Mr Cameron or members of his cabinet twice in the past six months, and is also close to Mr Johnson, after bankrolling his campaign.
None of those involved admit any wrongdoing, with Lycamobile previously claiming that the filmed cash drops were just ‘day to day banking’.
But according to Buzzfeed investigators the French authorities have identified money coming from shell companies suspected of acting as fronts for ‘various networks laundering profits from crime.’
Buzzfeed probed 19 companies that allegedly funnelled tens of millions of euros into Lycamobile’s French accounts.
All but one ‘was registered at PO boxes, vacant offices, derelict buildings, or a construction site.’ David Cameron pledged to crack down on money laundering and offshore tax avoidance at the global anti-corruption summit in London last month.
He said he wanted to ‘send a clear message to the corrupt that there is no home for them here’.
According to the Buzzfeed investigation, Lycamobile is selling its prepaid calling cards on the black market in Paris for cash, and is then using a ‘a vast system of false billing’ to invoice fake companies for the sales in order to conceal other illicit payments.
Lycamobile’s own auditors declared over the past two years that they could not account for total of £646 million that moved through 10 companies in its complex corporate network.