Lanka govt. to set up panel to investigate ‘Panama Papers’

Colombo : Sri Lanka has announced that it is setting up setting up a special panel to chase after nationals likely to figure in the “Panama Papers,” a pile of leaked documents on global tax evasion.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that government would investigate each and every citizen whose names were likely to come up when the Panama Papers becomes publicly available on May 9.

“Our panel will look into names that will come up in the Panama Papers as well as those already named in the Offshore Leaks,” Colombo Page quoted him as saying.

The government, which rose to power in January last year on a promise of wiping out corruption, has accused former president Mahinda Rajapakse and his family of siphoning off billions of dollars during his regime in power, reports the Colombo Page.

Rajapakse has clearly denied the charge.

The 11.5 million leaked documents, from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, revealed large-scale use of offshore entities to conceal assets from tax authorities.

Karunanayake also accused the former government of failing to look into 46 Sri Lankans whose name surfaced in the 2013 probe known as the Offshore Leaks, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Colombo had last week secured an IMF bailout of US$1.5 billion to head off a balance of payments crisis.(ANI)