Financial Times

Supreme Court considers F&G restructuring plan, special Trust

By Bandula Sirimanna

The 3-Judge Supreme Court bench headed by Ms Shirani Thilakawardane has directed the Central Bank to pursue the plan of restructuring the F&G company including the two non regulated companies and to continue its business to enable it to repay money to depositors.

The Court also expressed concern on the plight of employees of these companies if it is allowed to operate without a proper management. The Court on Friday also directed to expedite the preparation of the payment plan including the setting up of the special Trust in consultation with the Attorney General's Department.

Meanwhile Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala was granted bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s and Fort Magistrate’s Courts this week when the two cases of alleged defrauding of around Rs.8.3 billion deposited by some 5,600 depositors in F&G Property Developers and F&G Real Estate companies were taken up. But he remains in remand in connection with other cases.

The Court made this order as Mr. Kotelawala has agreed to pledge 1/3 rd of his personnel assets to a special Trust that will be set up to repay depositors. In two separate affidavits, he has given an undertaking to the Court that he will pledge 1/6th of his assets each to make repayments for depositors of these two companies.

Deputy Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda moved court to obtain an oath from all suspects including the first suspect Kotelawala in open court confirming that the affidavits submitted by them pledging to grant 1/3 rd of their personal assets to the trust was done voluntarily and not as a consideration of being granted bail.

Kotelawala was released on Rs.200,000 cash bail with two sureties of Rs.5 million each. The Magistrate ordered the suspect to surrender his passport to court and also to sign a bond. Previously, company directors Mervin Jayasinghe, Mohan Perera, Chalaka Sanjeewa Perera, Ranga Asiri Nanayakkara and K.A.S Jayatissa were enlarged on bail But in a dramatic turn of events, Fort Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya on Monday ordered three suspects - Mervin Jayasinghe, Mohan Perera and K.A.S Jayatissa to be re-remanded till October 12 - following a submission made by Mr Kodagoda.

He informed the court that the three directors were believed to be involved in a business interest in two companies affiliated to a subsidiary of the Ceylinco group of companies and had represented the said two companies at a meeting with Central Bank officials violating the undertaking on the repayment scheme which was proposed by court.

Meanwhile the Criminal Investigation Department is seeking public assistance to arrest Yasmin Mohamed, a senior official of Ceylinco Consolidated in connection with the F&G fraud case.

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