Detectives on dollar trail

New turn in Fonseka investigations
CID seeks Interpol help to trace foreign funders

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has launched a probe to ascertain whether foreign sources funded opposition’s defeated candidate retired General Sarath Fonseka’s campaign at last month’s presidential election.

As part of ongoing investigations, on Thursday, the CID sought the help of Interpol Headquarters in France. This is to examine whether it would be possible to ascertain from which country bank notes amounting to US $ 527,000 had arrived in Sri Lanka. Details of the currency have been made available to Interpol. Detectives were also interviewing Central Bank and local bank officials in this regard.

The US dollars found in one of four vaults, CID detectives say, were operated by Asoka Tillekeratne. Her son Danuna Tillekeratne is married to Apsara, the elder daughter of General Fonseka.

Detectives say Mr. Tillekeratne, who is wanted in connection with alleged fraudulent activity in supplying military items to the Army, is evading arrest. They are also investigating reports that he has fled Sri Lanka disguised under a different name.

Last Monday, detectives accompanied Ms Tillekeratne to a bank in Thimbirigasyaya. In their presence, they got her to open different vaults for which she held keys. She had paid Rs 600,000 and obtained the four vaults, two in her name and two in the names of relatives. The relatives have told detectives that they only lent their names and were unaware what was being held in the vaults. In one of them, detectives say they found US $ 527,000.

The total rupee value of the currency found in the vaults including rupees, CID detectives say, is more than Rs 75 million.

This led the police to another local bank where Ms Tillekeratne operated an account. It had held Rs 4 million. This has been frozen. Three different accounts in the name of Danuna Tillekeratne in a Sri Lanka based foreign bank were also frozen. He has had a total balance of Rs 12 million in them, according to detectives.

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