Nandana Jayadewa Lokuwithana, the Dubai based Sri Lankan businessman, and alleged front man of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been named in the Panama Papers released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Lokuwithana, is more popularly known as the ‘Sri Lankan who bought the Mariott Hotel in Dubai’ – which was reported to have belonged to Rajapaksa, who later denied reports that he had purchased the hotel.
While in power, it is reported that Rajapaksa had invested heavily on properties in Dubai through Lokuwithana, who reportedly hails from Nattandiya, and was introduced to Rajapaksa by his one-time loyalist, Sajin Vass Gunawardena. Lokuwithana bought the Ceylon Heavy Industries and Construction company (CHICO) (Sri Lanka’s former Ceylon Steel Corporation) for US$ 77 million at the invitation of the Rajapaksa regime.
In the Panama Papers, Lokuwithana is connected to one entity by the name of ‘Nilona Fashions’ which was incorporated in December 2000 and is within the jurisdiction of Seychelles, incidentally another hotspot where the Rajapaksas are alleged to have hidden their assets.