Sajin’s money laundering case fixed for trial | Daily News


Sajin’s money laundering case fixed for trial

The case filed against former UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena over a money laundering charge was yesterday fixed for trial on October 25 by the Colombo High Court.

When the case came up before Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulathunga, summons were issued to the five prosecution witnesses to appear before the court on the next trial date.

At a previous hearing, the indictment was handed over to the accused and the accused was released on a cash bail of Rs. 500,000 and two sureties of Rs. 5 million.

MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena has been indicted by the Attorney General (AG) on the charge of money laundering amounting to over Rs. 306.26 million, under Section 3(1)(a) of the Money Laundering Act No. 5 of 2006 as amended by Act No. 40 of 2011.

According to the AG’s Coordinating Officer, the alleged scam was unearthed during an investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on a complaint received on February 2, 2015.

CID investigations revealed that Sajin de Vass Gunawardena has owned a group of companies under the name ‘COSMOS’ which had 21 companies at the time he filed nominations to contest the Parliamentary Elections in 2010.

Although he had resigned from the directorship of all those companies and transferred his shares to his wife before he became a Member of the 14th Parliament, the evidence revealed that he had effectively run the full operation of those companies even after he became an MP.

Although on paper he had distanced himself from those companies, the CID investigations revealed that Gunawardena had made suspicious transactions using seven out of the 21 companies.

He had allegedly deposited over Rs. 458.73 million in this manner in the accounts of those companies. Evidence was disclosed that Gunawardena used to bring monies in cash to the bank and asked that the amounts be deposited in an account of a company named by him.

The bank details of the accounts maintained in the name of those companies have reflected these deposits. It has been further revealed that Gunawardena used to withdraw cash from these companies although he did not have any legal bearing to do so as he had rescinded his ownership and directorship in those companies.

Investigators found that neither Gunawardena nor his wife of their own admission have such a known income comparable to the vast sums of money he had made as deposits in those companies. It is pertinent to note that much of those deposits were made during his tenure as an MP in the 14th Parliament, the CID said.

The deficit between all of those deposits and his and his wife’s income, including company drawings he had made illegally, has been identified as Rs. 306,268,194.76.

The AG’s Department earlier said that former MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena has failed to explain how he earned such an income to make those deposits especially at a time during which he acted as an elected Member of Parliament from 2010 to 2015.

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