News International review

Sri Lankan president ordered to investigate his niece’s wealth

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered a probe into his niece’s assets after information emerged in the Pandora Papers that she and her husband had taken millions of dollars abroad.

Cabinet spokesman Dullas Alahapperum said the president personally approached Sri Lanka’s main anti-corruption body to investigate the assets of his niece Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan within one month, Al Jazeera news agency reported.

The names of the spouses were among dozens of other persons involved in Pandora’s Papers, 11.9 million documents leaked from financial companies around the world.

The Pandora Papers was published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and released in major media outlets including The Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian.

Charges range from corruption to money laundering and tax evasion.

According to ICIJ, Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan owned approximately $ 18 million in offshore assets in 2017. And Nadesan’s wealth in 2011 was more than $ 160 million.

Holding assets offshore is not illegal in Sri Lanka, but local tax authorities must be notified.

Last month, the government passed an amnesty law for tax dodgers in hopes that the move will bring back wealth stashed abroad.