Nirupama Rajapaksa, her husband named in Pandora Papers
Former Sri Lankan deputy minister Nirupama Rajapaksa is among the persons mentioned in the most expansive leak of tax haven files in history, dubbed the Pandora Papers.
Some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials are featured in the files from offshore companies.
The examination of the files is the largest organised by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), with more than 650 reporters taking part.
A cousin of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Nirupama was deputy minister of water supply and drainage from 2010 to 2015.
According to the ICIJ, Nirupama and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan together controlled a shell company they used to buy luxury apartments in London and Sydney, and to make investments.
Nadesan, who has worked as a consultant and hotel entrepreneur, according to a biography on his company website, set up other shell companies and trusts in secrecy jurisdictions.
He used them to obtain lucrative consulting contracts from foreign companies doing business with the Sri Lankan government and to buy artwork.
In confidential emails to Asiaciti Trust, a Singapore-based offshore services provider, a longtime adviser of Nadesan’s put his overall wealth, as of 2011, at more than $160 million.
ICIJ says it couldn’t independently verify the figure.
Asiaciti Trust managed some of Nadesan’s offshore companies and trusts, with assets valued at about $18 million, according to an ICIJ analysis.
The firm listed him as a politically connected individual because of his wife’s political position.
Nirupama and Nadesan declined to answer ICIJ’s questions about their trusts and companies.
Asiaciti kept the family as clients even after Nadesan was charged with embezzlement in 2016 in connection with a real estate deal involving another member of current finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, accused of using public funds to build a villa.
The case is pending; Nadesan and Basil Rajapaksa have denied wrongdoing.
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