Trial fixed for February 25 | Daily News


Money laundering case against Vass Gunawardena :

Trial fixed for February 25

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

The case was taken up before Colombo High Court judge Gihan Kulathunga.

At a previous hearing, Indictment was handed over to accused and he 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 the Act No 40 of 2011.

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

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

Though he has 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 had revealed that he has effectively run the full operation of those companies even after he became an MP.

Though on paper he had distanced himself from those companies, the CID investigation revealed that Gunawardena has made suspicious transactions using seven of the 21 companies.

He has 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 and asked to deposit the same 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 It has been further revealed that Gunawardena has withdrawn cash from those same companies though he had not had any legal bearing to do so as he has rescinded his ownership and directorship of those companies.

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

The deficit between all of those deposits and his and his wife’s income including company drawings he has made illegally, have 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 in a time during which he acted as an elected Member of the Parliament from 2010 to 2015.

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