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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Alleged Rs. 4,000 m Fraud by CSN: Yoshitha, Sajin Vaas Summoned

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa and MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena have been directed to appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) next week for questioning on allegations of money laundering and failure to pay dues amounting to a staggering Rs. 4,000 million to the Government.

A senior police officer said they were to be questioned in connections with an investigation on the activities of the controversial sports channel Carlton Sports Network (CSN) of which Yoshitha Rajapaksa was a founder and Mr. Vaas Gunawardena an investor.

A former Presidential Secretariat official, state television officials and some businessmen are among others who also have been told to appear before the FCID for the same investigation.

The decision to summon them comes on allegations that they had arbitrarily taken over the broadcasting rights of international cricket matches and misused state-owned transmission towers thereby causing huge losses to the State and other television channels, the officer said.

He said there were allegations that the CSN had no paid broadcasting fees to the state but the money had been spent on developing the CSN and on other business activities.

As part of the investigations the bank accounts of Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Mr. Vaas Gunawardena also had been checked.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka told the Sunday Times the estimated revenue loss to the state due to the dealings of the CSN had been estimated at Rs. 4,000 million.

He said the CSN had so far not paid the Rs one billion tax imposed by the January 29 budget.

The minister said investigations had revealed that the CSN had been earning about Rs. 200 million monthly by broadcasting to China over the past three years

By Damith Wickremasekara/ST


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