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Sri Lanka govt promises to probe 'each and every' national mentioned in 'Panama Papers'

Colombo: Sri Lanka has set up a special panel to probe its nationals named in the "Panama Papers", the finance minister said on Monday while promising to investigate "each and every" Sri Lankan tax evader who may figure in the leaked documents.

Sri Lankans are said to figure in the leaked documents and the government of President Maithripala Sirisena, which came to power in January on a promise to clean up corruption, said it would probe "each and every Sri Lankan" whose names were likely to figure in the documents to be made public on 9 May.

 Sri Lanka govt promises to probe each and every national mentioned in Panama Papers

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena. AFP

The Sirisena government has accused former president Mahinda Rajapaksa of large-scale corruption and siphoning off billions of dollars during his decade-long tenure.

Rajapaksa has denied the charges.

The Finance Ministry has set up a special panel to probe individuals named in the 11.5 million documents on global tax evasion leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

"Any names there we will write to them and compel them to respond, we will also use the diplomatic channels to gather information," Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

He told reporters the panel will consist of officials from the finance ministry, exchange control department and inland revenue department.

"The panel will look into the names that will come up in the Panama Papers, as well as those already named in Offshore Leaks."

Karunanayake also accused the Rajapaksa regime of failing to probe 46 Sri Lankans whose names figured in 2013 in the Offshore Leaks by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

One such official holding a high government position resigned recently allowing an investigation.

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Updated Date: May 02, 2016 17:21:37 IST

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