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Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Security, Tiran Alles, has been named in the latest batch of leaks in the Pandora Papers, confirming he has two firms registered in an offshore tax haven.
Banham Ventures Limited and Brompton Properties, both registered in the British Virgin Islands, have named the MP as the owner and director. Currently, no investigations have been taken up by the Sri Lankan authorities to investigate the possibility of tax evasion or money laundering.
According to The Island, the MP filed a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) accusing the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) alleging that “he had offshore investments in an European island.”
Tiran Alles was a businessman who entered into politics as the campaign manager for Mahinda Rajapakse’s bid for Presidency in 2005. He also was the former Chairperson of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). He currently owns local print media organisations such as Ceylong Today and Mawbima, and Gateway College, which consists of international schools throughout the island.
The Pandora Papers were a series of leaked documents that implicated prominent public officials, politicians, and celebrities as part of a global trend of using offshore companies in tax haven countries and owning property throughout the world. Ground-breaking reporting by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed in the Pandora Papers how members of the Rajapaksa family stashed millions of dollars in anonymous offshore trusts and shell companies.
The papers revealed how Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan hid millions from law enforcement during the armed conflict through investments in luxury properties across the world, offshore trusts, and opulent artwork. The ICIJ estimated that as of 2017 the offshore holdings of the couple were valued at approximately $18 million. At the time, the median annual income in Sri Lanka was less than $4,000.
Nirupama Rajapaksa, a former deputy minister had told journalists in an interview that women were needed in Sri Lanka politics because, “as women, we have better qualities than men and are more honest and are less vulnerable to bribes and corruption”.
Responding to the revelation that members of the Rajapaksa family stashed millions of dollars in anonymous offshore trusts and shell companies, Sri Lankan State Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, C B Ratnayake blamed the Tamil diaspora.