Rajapaksa family looted billions from Sri Lanka


For decades, members of the Rajapaksa Dynasty in Sri Lanka were engaged in free-style loot of public wealth under numerous excuses and were draining-out hundreds of millions of dollars to a number of countries in the world, including UAE, while Gotabaya Rajapaksa had established business relations with Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, through which, Rajapaksa-Skerrit duo were running transnational drug trafficking and money-laundering activities. It is also learnt from credible sources that the members of Rajapaksa Dynasty have invested huge amount of cash in a number of businesses ranging from restaurant, bar, casino, escort service, massage shop, hotel, motel, pub, construction and even prostitution ring.

Nirupama Rajapaksa forced Sri Lankan females into prostitution

The source said, Nirupama Rajapaksa, a members of the mighty Rajapaksa Clan was also involved in sending Sri Lankan girls and females to several sex rackets in Dubai, Doha, Beirut, Las Vegas, Tokyo and Seoul, while she had also hands behind forcing the female flight attendants of Sri Lankan airlines in engaging in “part-time” prostitution.

According to the source, Nirupama Rajapaksa had established connections with underworld racket of artifact and antique dealers and had sold numerous precious Buddhist artifacts and relics, including the sacred hair of Buddha. Antics and artifacts were smuggled through a Samoan-registered shell company with an unremarkable name, Pacific Commodities Ltd. But a cache of leaked documents from Asiaciti Trust, a Singapore-based financial services provider, indicates that a politically connected Sri Lankan, Thirukumar Nadesan, secretly controls the company and thus is the true owner of the 31 pieces of art. His wife, Nirupama Rajapaksa, is a former member of Sri Lanka’s Parliament and a scion of the powerful Rajapaksa clan, which has dominated the Indian Ocean island nation’s politics for decades.

Additionally, confidential documents obtained by this newspaper, show that as the country was ravaged by a bloody, decades-long civil war, the couple set up anonymous offshore trusts and shell companies to acquire artwork and luxury apartments and to store cash, securities and other assets in secret.

They were able to amass and hide their fortune in secrecy jurisdictions with the assistance of financial services providers, lawyers and other white-collar professionals who asked few questions about the source of their wealth – even after Nadesan became a target of a well-publicized corruption investigation by Sri Lankan authorities. As of 2017, Rajapaksa and Nadesan’s offshore holdings, which haven’t previously been made public, had a value of about US$18 million. But in emails to Asiaciti, a longtime adviser of Nadesan’s put his overall wealth in 2011 at more than US$600 million.

The records describing the financial machinations of Nadesan and Nirupama Rajapaksa are among more than 11.9 million records from Asiaciti and 13 other offshore service providers. A comprehensive investigation by independent journalists found billions pouring out of impoverished and autocratic nations and into private accounts listed under the names of shell companies and trusts, often hidden from courts, creditors and law enforcement.

Sri Lanka’s president is Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Nirupama Rajapaksa’s late father was his cousin. The president’s older brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is prime minister. Human rights groups have accused the brothers of war crimes. Former government officials have alleged that the family has amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune and hidden part of it in bank accounts in Dubai, Seychelles, Dominica and St. Martin. At least eight family members and loyalists have been investigated by authorities and some have been charged with crimes including fraud, corruption and embezzlement, according to media reports.

Civil war-ravaged Sri Lanka for a quarter-century. The seeds of the conflict go back to 1948, when nationalists, led by Don Alwin Rajapaksa, granted certain citizenship privileges to the Sinhalese majority, alienating the country’s ethnic Tamil minority. Animosity boiled over into open conflict in 1983, when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an insurgent group, killed 13 government soldiers.

The years that followed were marred by torture, abductions, arbitrary arrests and the massacre of civilians, by the separatists and by government forces. One of the army chiefs leading the fight against the Tigers was Gotabaya Rajapaksa – Don Alwin’s son. Gotabaya was nicknamed “The Terminator” because of his reputation for ruthlessness.

The leaked records show that as the conflict intensified, Nirupama Rajapaksa, now 60 years old, and her husband, Nadesan, were establishing shell companies and trusts in offshore jurisdictions. The reasons, according to a client review in the leaked files: “confidentiality and estate planning”.

Other powerful elites in the region, including relatives of Indonesian and Filipino autocrats Suharto and Ferdinand Marcos, have followed the same playbook.

In 1990, Nadesan, a British-educated businessman and trustee of several Sri Lankan Hindu charities and temples, set up a trust and a shell company in the Channel Islands, British crown dependencies off the coast of France.

The company, Pacific Commodities Ltd., would collect millions of dollars, an internal document shows, advising foreign companies doing business with the Sri Lankan government. One client was Contrac GmbH, a German manufacturer that supplied airfield buses for a project involving the country’s national airline company, now SriLankan Airlines.

As the civil war escalated in May 1991, Rajapaksa and Nadesan set up Rosetti Ltd., another shell company, on the Channel Island of Jersey. It would provide consulting services “mainly in relation to inward investment into Sri Lanka,” according to confidential documents.

The couple used Rosetti to buy a luxury apartment in Sydney, near Darling Harbour. They used the same shell company to buy three apartments in London, one by the Thames River that they resold a few years later for US$850,000, and two worth more than US$4 million that were rented out “on a commercial basis”.

Sri Lankan media under control of Rajapaksa Clan

Although Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already fled Sri Lanka by bribing millions of dollars to several officials of the Sri Lanka army, it is anticipated that the mass-media in the country shall not take a strong position against the corrupt family, as Rajapaksas have secretly purchased major stake of shares in most of the leading newspaper and television stations in Sri Lanka.

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