Yoshitha to be indicted on money laundering charges

YoshithaFormer President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 27-year-old son Yoshitha Rajapaksa, who is in judicial custody on money laundering charges, will be indicted in the High Court, police said today.

The investigation was centred on the sources of the initial capital of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) headed by Yoshitha Rajapaksa, a navy lieutenant and the second son of Rajapaksa, the Press Trust of India quoted Police Spokesman and Assistant Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekera as saying.

Yoshitha, along with four others, was arrested and quizzed on Saturday by the police’s Financial Crimes Division (FCID) at the Sri Lankan Navy headquarters over his involvement in the management of a private television company. All the five accused were produced in the Kaduwela Magistrate Court and remanded to judicial custody till February 11.

“The investigations had revealed that the initial capital of 234 million was not accounted for with information on its source. There was also USD 2.3 million sent to the company from a foreign country. The source of this was also questionable,” he said. Some of the related documents proved to be forged. This had led to the directors being tried for money laundering, Gunasekera said, adding that one more director, who is a woman, would be arrested.

Yoshitha is the first family member of Rajapaksa to be arrested after the former president’s younger brother Basil Rajapaksa, the former economic development minister, was remanded to custody in April last year. The arrest of Basil on alleged misappropriation of public funds had come after Rajapaksa’s shock defeat at the hands of Maithripala Sirisena in the polls last year. Rajapaksa on Saturday accused his successor Sirisena’s government of exacting political “revenge” on him.

The Rajapaksa family has faced many accusations of corruption and abuse of power since Sirisena ended the former strongman’s 10-year rule. Sirisena’s coalition had pledged to bring to justice the perpetrators of large scale corruption in the Rajapaksa regime. The slowness of the proceedings had caused much heartburn among the public, some even pointing to political deals between the current government and the former regime. (Colombo Gazette)

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