Panama Papers: Reclaiming money more important than revealing names, says ACF

Apr 08, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Anti Corruption Front says re-claiming money from hidden offshore accounts is more important than revealing names.

Speaking about Panama Papers, an advisor to Anti Corruption Front, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon told Lanka Business Online that the ICIJ organization has already started processing data on Sri Lanka.

Tennakoon said investigations carried out by Sri Lanka on financial crimes have earlier found out that money owned by several Sri Lankans have been partly deposited in several Latin American countries.

“So this may be about that. However, as a country we don’t need names. What we need is to bring back these monies to Sri Lanka,” he said. “But we’ll never claim those monies back if we are not going to file cases against these people.”

Others argue that the matter is a legal one. Money legally kept in a low-tax jurisdiction, has not broken any laws. The intention to avoid paying taxes by falsifying ownership, however, deserves investigation and penalties.

Tennakoon said the investigations pertaining to 512 corruption complaints filed by the Anti-Corruption Front earlier have not been conducted at an optimum level with around 40 completed.

Meanwhile Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne said yesterday that names of Sri Lankan politicians included in the Panama Papers will be revealed soon.

Panama Papers has so far revealed the involvement of 22 shareholders in three companies and clients in Sri Lanka.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is preparing to release part of its massive data files in stages over the next few weeks.