SEC head under pressure to resign

The head of Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday said he was coming under immense pressure to resign on false accusations by some investors under investigation for “pump-and-dump” deals.

“I am under immense pressure to resign for the reason those concerned know best,” Tilak Karunaratne, the head of SEC told Reuters.

Karunaratne did not elaborate who was pressuring him to step down, but said it might be the result of false information about his activities as the head of the SEC.

“This might be mainly due to false information fed by a mafia of high net worth investors and their crony stockbrokers who have been involved in pump-and-dump deals.”

Karunaratne has called for investigations into market manipulation and malpractice, including so-called pump-and-dump deals in which naive investors are lured into apparently cut-priced equities.

His comments come barely two weeks after the Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said Sri Lanka was ready to make significant policy changes in an effort to revive its faltering stock market which has fallen 20.2 percent since the start of the year.

Karunaratne was appointed to the post after his predecessor Indrani Sugathadasa resigned in December “to uphold her principles,” amid broker complaints that tougher regulations were hurting stock market prices. (Reuters)