Upon conclusion of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) investigation into the Carlton Sports Network (CSN), the Attorney General is scheduled to interdict in High Court, former President and incumbent Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son and Lieutenant in the Sri Lanka Navy, Yoshitha Rajapaksa and others presently remanded on charges of money laundering.

The FCID had investigated the matter following a complaint lodged to the Inspector General of Police by Citizens for a Just/Fair Society on March 15, 2015, who alleged money laundering and misuse of public property by CSN, which are considered offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, No. 5 of 2006 and the Penal Code.

The case (B 9823/2015) is presently heard at the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court.

The FCID had investigated as to how the initial capital of the media channel amounting to Rs 234 million had been obtained. Investigations had revealed that the initial number of shares of the company was 700,004 and was worth Rs 7 million. Further investigations conducted into how the balance capital had been obtained had unearthed that the amount had been obtained through fraudulent deals and by unlawful activities conducted overseas with US$ 2.3 million coming in through a deal done with a foreign company which involved a project in Sri Lanka involving a foreign company’s investment. Documents relating to such have revealed that the monies used as capital had come in through laundering practices. The Police Media Unit informed that according to the company documents, all shareholders including Weliwita Withanage Don Sunilal Rohan Weliwita, Sachithra Kavishan Dissanayake, Ravinath Fernando and Shadiya Karunajeewa were also the initial directors of the company. While younger brother of Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Nishantha Ranatunga had acted as the chief executive officer of CSN, electronic mail correspondence has revealed that Yoshitha Rajapaksa had been the director and key decision maker of the organization.

Since statements taken from the aforementioned had not certified their innocence, as per powers afforded to him through provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979 {specifically Sections 32 and 102(5) of }, the Kaduwela Magistrate has remanded them till February 11, 2016. Aside to the aforementioned crime of money laundering, information has also come to light regarding their involvement in the preparation of fraudulent documents, the criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, violations of the Customs (Amendment) Act and the Companies Act, and the misuse of State property.

Another suspect, Ashan Rabinath Fernando was also arrested along with Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Weliwita, Dissanayake, Fernando, and Nishantha Ranatunga on January 30, 2016 by the FCID.

Police Media Spokesman, Assistant Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekera said that Karunajeewa was presently in Australia.

He added that the Department of Immigration and Emigration had been informed that she is to be arrested upon her return to the island.

Attorney-at-Law for Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Premnath Chaminda Dolawatte said that they would be holding a press conference either on February 01 or February 02, 2016 with regards to a document circulated amongst the press by Gunasekera regarding the incident under ongoing FCID investigation, which they deemed was a violation of the right of the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the Constitution.

“We have filed several motions to obtain the case report and record. Another group of lawyers have attempted to get Weliwita’s signatures on certain cheques which require his signature, yet this matter has not been taken up in the open hearing. Meanwhile, Gunasekera has sent a document with an explanation of a version of events concerning the background to the investigation into CSN media and requested that wide publicity be given to it. The suspects could ultimately be proven guilty or innocent, yet until it is proven so in a court of law, they are considered innocent. This is enshrined in the Constitution. Gunasekera’s request therefore amounts to a joke,” he remarked.