June 26, 2018 (LBO) – The New York Times is out with an explosive report on China’s influence in Sri Lanka. The article puts forward specific details of China Harbor’s financial support to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s unsuccessful 2015 presidential election campaign.
LBO is unable to verify the following facts in the New York Times article, however the relevant section of the article on payments from China Harbor is reproduced below:
“As the January election inched closer, large payments started to flow toward the president’s circle.
At least $7.6 million was dispensed from China Harbor’s account at Standard Chartered Bank to affiliates of Mr. Rajapaksa’s campaign, according to a document, seen by The Times, from an active internal government investigation. The document details China Harbor’s bank account number — ownership of which was verified — and intelligence gleaned from questioning of the people to whom the checks were made out.
With 10 days to go before polls opened, around $3.7 million was distributed in checks: $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional material and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s saris. Another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Mr. Rajapaksa’s electoral bid, while two checks totaling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees, his official residence.
Most of the payments were from a subaccount controlled by China Harbor, named “HPDP Phase 2,” shorthand for Hambantota Port Development Project.”
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