Financial Times

Parties agree to set up trust to repay Golden Key depositors

By Bandula Sirimanna

A trust is to be set up to repay depositors of the collapsed Golden Key company, the Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate's Court was informed on Friday when this case was taken up. The proposal came from Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman Lalith Kotelawala. The modalities of the trust will be devised after discussions with the Attorney General, two lawyers representing depositors and the management of Ceylinco Consolidated.

Making representations before court, Deputy Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanna noted that the whole country knows that Mr Kotelawala and other directors are suspects in this case as the people had deposited their money keeping their confidence on the image of the Ceylinco chief and he breached that trust. He pointed out that Ceylinco authorities have failed to inform the method of repayment of depositor’s money and the CID found it difficult to contact Ceylinco authorities to unearth information on the dealings of the Golden Key Co. The list of names and amounts paid to depositors as refunds was submitted to the CID on Thursday evening less than 24 hours before the hearing of this case. He informed the court that Mr. Kotelawala and his management team is now saying that all the data of depositors stored in the computer were lost and they have to go through the files and documents to find out their details.

Data of only 2,500 depositors have been prepared and the preparation of details of 7,500 depositors is under way. He noted that this procedure will take time and the CID needs all these details to carry out their investigations.

Mr. Jayamanna disclosed that the management of the Golden Key Co. had misled the Non Banking Supervision Division of the Central Bank and the Monetary Board by informing them that the total value of their security deposits and investments was Rs 6 billion although the actual amount was around Rs. 14 to 15 billion. Based on these figures the Central Bank has treated it as a credit card company, he said. He told court that Deputy Chairman Khavan Perera had frequently visited Australia during the past five years and he and his family had obtained visas to leave the country for France on December 25, 2008.

M. Nallenthuwan, the company’s auditor was remanded till January 30 along with three others suspects including Mr Perera, Finance Director Saradha Sumanasekara and Manoj Chaminda Jayalath of Ceylinco Insurance in the Rs.26 billion financial scam. .

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