Money laundering and illicit financial flows (IFFs) are amongst several concerns raised by petitioners who have triggered a five-judge bench of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court to examine several petitions filed against the US$1.4 billion China-funded Colombo Port City Commission Bill presently in parliament.
The petitioners say the bill contravenes Sri Lanka’s constitution and are seeking a two-thirds parliamentary majority and a referendum before the controversial bill can be passed.
Lack of transparency
Among the petitioners is Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL). It is concerned by the lack of transparency surrounding the proposed investment in the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Harbour.
Petitioners have also drawn attention to the lack of transparency in the ownership of the offshore businesses that will be set up at the new port. They are not required to disclose their ultimate beneficial owners.
TISL says its concerns around the lack of transparency in this project are further exacerbated by reports that the investment will be undertaken at least in part by the Adani group of India.
It has been implicated in several allegations of improper business practices, fraud and corruption globally and with alleged links to tax havens in the Cayman and British Virgin Islands.
India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for example expressed concerns over Adani Enterprises in 2019, accusing it of trying to “impede” its long running investigations into alleged trade-based money laundering by Adani Group firms and other power producers in India accused of misinvoicing (Trade-based Financial Crime, 7 August 2019).
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News