Straits Herald September 3, 2019

Sri Lanka will request the extradition of an ex-central bank chief in relation to a $74 million insider trading scam, the attorney-general said Monday, months after Colombo accused Singapore of sheltering him.

Arjuna Mahendran, a Singapore national of Sri Lankan origin, was accused in 2015 of passing sensitive information to his bond-dealer son-in-law to make millions in undue profits.

“Documents amounting to 21,000 pages were submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence today to be lodged with Singapore,” the attorney-general’s spokeswoman Nishara Jayaratne said.

She said Mahendran had been indicted in June for causing losses of more than $11 million to the state.

Mahendran and his son-in-law are accused of manipulating bond auctions in 2015 and 2016.

He was named a key suspect in the scam in February last year and fled abroad, failing to appear in court to respond to charges.

A damning presidential report into the scandal also accused Mahendran of insider trading and recommended the state recover its losses from the pair.

The country’s central bank has launched a forensic audit to determine whether there was further insider trading during Mahendran’s tenure between January 2015 and June 2016.

Mahendran is believed to be in Singapore and in March, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena accused the island state’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of sheltering him.

But Singapore insisted that Colombo’s request to send back Mahendran was incomplete.

Sri Lanka’s chief prosecutor said authorities had by Monday completed the legal requirements to formally lodge an extradition request with Singapore.

The allegations deepened acrimony between Sirisena and his coalition partner Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who handpicked Mahendran to head the central bank. – AFP