On the Mat

May 24, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s securities watchdog has suspended the chief executive of Taprobane Securities Private Limited, pending a probe related to a controversial share transaction between a stat bank and a troubled finance company. In a directive to the chairman and board of directors of Taprobane Securities on May 23, the Securities and Exchange Commission asked the CEO/Managing Director Dinal Wijemanne be suspended immediately.

It also asked the board to ensure Wijemanne does not operate in any other capacity for an behalf of Taprobane Securities, until the investigations are completed.

Wijemanne has been embroiled in the sale of The Finance Company Limited shares to state-run National Savings Bank at a steep premium.

The state bank bought 13 percent stock of the loss-making finance company from a consortium of buyers including Wijemanne. Taprobane Securities acted as the broker for the buyer and the seller.

The savings bank failed to honour the payments, after its unions petitioned the president and the treasury chief. The deal was later aborted on the directives of the president.

The SEC last week allowed the transfer of shares to take place off-the trading floor and imposed stiff regulations on stockbroke