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Mon, 27 April 2015 09:11:36
Sri Lanka to bring tighter laws against deposit scams
24 Sep, 2008 14:08:09
Sept 24, 2008 (LBO) - Sri Lanka will bring in tighter laws to nab fraudsters who run fraudulent deposit scams, a government minister said, after the collapse of the latest Ponzi-style high yield scheme.
Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya was responding to a question from parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa.

A person calling himself Sakvithi Ranasinghe had collected hundreds of millions of rupees promising extraordinarily high returns and fled the country leaving more than 4,000 people penniless.

The man, whose real name was believed to be Chandrakumar Ranasinghe, had run a company called Sakvithi Lanka Constructions.

Officials from Sri Lanka's central bank had visited his office on September 09 to question him but he has fled the country.

Officials say investigations are underway on six other persons who are collecting money through investment scams.

Under the banking law of the country the central bank can only act against persons who are taking deposits, which is legally defined.

The bank has approved deposit taking institutions and has published advertisements warning people against unregistered institutions that take deposits.

However people sometimes take risks to get high returns. The central bank has said that the promise of a high yield itself should serve as a warning to depositors.

Some investment firms which were investigated by the Central Bank have even taken the regulator to court due to legal shortcomings.

Ponzi scams are named after an Italian immigrant in Chicago, Charles Ponzi, who took deposits from people saying he had a profitable business trading in postal reply coupons.

But in actual fact, the interest of earlier depositors were re-paid with money from new depositors as the underlying business was not that profitable.

Ponzi scams are a variant of a pyramid scheme.

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