ECONOMYNEXT – The names of several Sri Lanka domiciled individuals, including Nissanka Senadhipathi of Avant Garde, have been disclosed in the Panama Papers released on the Internet on Monday.
According to documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Senadhipathi incorporated an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with three others.
The four shareholders of the Avant Garde offshore operation are Yapa Hetti Pathirannahalage Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, Senerath Bandara Dissanayake, Prasanna Athanasius Sirimevan Rajaratne and Y. H. P. Kithsiri Manjula Kumara Yapa.
It was Mossack Fonseca’s Singapore operation that helped Avant Garde set up its offshore operation in the British Virgin Islands.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced last week that the government was setting up a special panel to chase after nationals likely to figure in the “Panama Papers”, a trove of leaked documents on global tax evasion.
The government, which came into power in January last year on a promise to clean up corruption, has accused former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family and their friends of siphoning off billions of dollars during his decade in power – a charge he has denied.
Avant Garde’s Senadhipathi is already under investigation for money laundering, a charge he has denied.
Finance Minister Karunanayake said Colombo would investigate “each and every Sri Lankan” whose names will figure in the Panama Papers, which became publicly available from the night of May 9.
He accused the former government of failing to look into 46 Sri Lankans whose names came up in a 2013 probe known as Offshore Leaks by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which is also behind the Panama Papers.
About 11.5 million leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed the large-scale use of offshore entities to conceal assets from tax authorities.
The Sri Lankan domiciled individuals are as follows:
- Kenneth John Pendigrast
- Yapa Hetti Pathirannahalage Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi
- Mohamed Siddeek Mohamed Ali
- Senerath Bandara Dissanayake
- Min Xuan
- Jayakody Arachchige Dona Marian Srini Pamela Jayakody
Palavinnege Sumith Cumaranatunga
- Prasanna Athanasius Sirimevan Rajaratne
- Tristan Laurens Bernard
- Nicola Dawn Hakansson
- Michael Robert Nasmyth MacPherson
- Aroon Hirdaramani
- Mona Hirdaramani and Aroon Hirdaramani as Joints tenants with Rights of Survivorship
- Arun Prakash Mahtani
- Mukesh Khubchand
- Ng Yin Peng
- Simon Finch
- Y H P Kithsiri Manjula Kumara Yapa
The following Sri Lankan addresses had been given to set up offshore operations:
- 325 Park Rd, Colombo 05 Sri Lanka
- 49; Siri Dhammadara Road; Rathmalana; Sri Lanka
- 50/12 Siripa Road Colombo 5; Colombo; Sri Lanka
- 52 Galle Road; Colombo 3; Sri Lanka
- 61 Barnes Place; Colombo 7; Sri Lanka
- 7/3 de Fonseka Place; Colombo 4; Sri Lanka
- 88 Amberfield; Howick; Sri Lanka; 3290
- Advani; 7A Sumner Place; Borella; Colombo 8; Sri Lanka
- Flat 8B; Ceylinco Seylan Tower; 90 Galle Road; Colombo 5; Sri Lanka.
- No. 250 Havelock Road Colombo 5, Sri Lanka
- No.25; Mission Lane; Pitakotte; Sri Lanka
- 127/9 New Parliament Road; Battaramulla; Sri Lanka
- 168/7; Siripura Gardens; Rajamahavihara Road; Kotte; Sri Lanka
- 17; Sirimal Avenue; Off Quarry Road; Dehiwela; Sri Lanka
- 18A Palmyrah Ave.; Colombo 3; Sri Lanka
- 22/10/1; Sri Bimbarama Road; Kolamunna; Piliyandala; Sri Lanka
- 30/1; 2/2 Kasappa Road; Colombo 5; Sri Lanka
- 309; Mahahunupitiya; Negombo; Sri Lanka
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. The ICIJ, which is behind the Panama Papers leak, does not suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in their earlier OffShore Leaks database or the Panama Papers have broken the law or acted improperly.
However, individuals and companies mentioned in the papers may have a lot of explaining to do. In the case of the Sri Lankans, they will have to explain to the Inland Revenue Department and the Central Bank how they set up such operations.
Sri Lankan law allows nationals to set up offshore operations, but it must be declared to the Inland Revenue Department and the Exchange Control department of the Central Bank. If not, they will be liable for prosecution under the Inland Revenue Act, exchange control laws and anti-money laundering legislation. (COLOMBO, May 10 2016)