Asela Waidyalankara, son of former Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) head Senior DIG Ravi Waidyalankara, has said he bought an apartment worth Rs 52mn at Monarch Residencies in Kollupitiya with money he earned from selling gems, documents filed last week at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court show. He also told investigators that the initial capital [...]


Edwards money laundering case: Ex-FCID chief’s son explains how he bought Monarch apartment


Asela Waidyalankara, son of former Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) head Senior DIG Ravi Waidyalankara, has said he bought an apartment worth Rs 52mn at Monarch Residencies in Kollupitiya with money he earned from selling gems, documents filed last week at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court show.

He also told investigators that the initial capital for his company Talos Consulting (Pvt) Ltd was a birthday gift of Rs 6mn from his mother, Mary Basilika, and savings from his employment earnings. A summary of his statement to the FCID, which is now under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), is in a B report presented to court on June 24.

The apartment Asela Waidyalankara bought is 16/A2 Monarch Residencies, Colombo 3. This is the registered address of Suriya International Corporation (Pvt) Ltd which was formed in December 2016 with his mother, Essalla Pathiralage Mary Basilika, and Punya Priyanji Menike Edwards as directors.

Mrs Edwards is the wife of Rienzie Mahesh Kumara Edwards who in 2017 was indicted by the US Attorney’s Office along with five others for allegedly defrauding victims of over US$ 50 million, an unspecified percentage of which was reportedly transferred to bank accounts in Sri Lanka. The FCID has been investigating the couple since August 2015.

In his statement to the FCID in May this year, Asela Waidyalankara said he did not know how his apartment came to be the registered address of Suriya International and that he found out only when newspapers reported it. He also learned later that his mother was a director of this company, he states, and therefore did not take any action in relation to it.

Talos Consulting was set up in 2015 with ten shares. The company secretaries are Lameer and Lameer Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. In January 2016, Talos Consulting decided at a “Director Board meeting” to secure a licence for gem export (CBA 15939) from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA), Asela Waidyalankara has told police.

After some research, he bought gems worth Rs 20,000 from Rashik [sic] Hajjiar, a person known to him. He found buyers through a Pakistani national named Naushad and exported the gems to India, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong, earning Rs 42,858,000.

Again, on a decision of the “Director Board”, Asela Waidyalankara invested that money to buy 16/A2 Monarch Residencies, Colombo 3, for a price of Rs 52mn. An advance of Rs 2mn was first paid in cash to the apartment’s seller. Thereafter, Rs 42,858,000 earned from gem exports was deposited in the seller’s bank account.

The final instalment of Rs 7,124,000 was also paid in cash, Asela Waidyalankara’s statement had said. Investigations in relation to this are continuing with both the NGJA and Talos Consulting’s account at Commercial Bank, the B report states.

The FCID recorded the statement of Lameer and Lameer Holdings Managing Director (MD) who said his institution, on Asela Waidyalankara’s instructions, registered Talos Consulting in October 2015 as an Information Technology company. Asela Waidyalankara was the only shareholder.

The MD has said his company did not have minutes or diary entries for the following Director Board resolutions of Talos Consulting: a decision to enter into the business of gem export; a decision to open a current account in Commercial Bank for the purpose of the business of gem export; a decision to buy an apartment at Monarch with the proceeds of gem export; a decision to open an account at NDB Bank for the purpose of this property transaction. However, a file was maintained and annual reports were submitted to the Registrar of Companies for 2016, 2017 and 2018, he stated.

According to the MD, Talos Consulting was formed on October 29, 2015. On December 30 the same year, the Director Board decided to enter into gem exporting and the relevant Commercial Bank account was opened on January 4, 2016.

On January 28, 2016, the Director Board resolved to buy the Monarch property using earnings from gem exports. A previous B report filed with the Chief Magistrate Court shows that the apartment was acquired on February 11, 2016.

Meanwhile, the freezing of assets of Mr and Mrs Edwards, the two suspects in the international money laundering case, was extended at the last Court date till July 28. They are prevented from making financial gain from their properties which include a large number of houses and hotels. Among these is the land belonging to Asiri Central Hospital at 37, Horton Place, Colombo 7, acquired for Rs 2.7bn.

A Nuwara Eliya land owned by Mrs Edwards and worth Rs 54mn was sold in October last year to PA Properties Private Ltd located at 796, Hathamuna Road, Athumalpitiya, Polonnaruwa, the FCID also submitted to Court. The lawyer who handled the deal told police the money agreed for this transaction was deposited in three instalments of Rs 6mn, Rs 6mn and Rs 42mn in the account of Mrs Edwards on January 21 this year.

PA Properties is a subsidiary of the Araliya Group of Companies, for which he is Legal Adviser, the lawyer’s statement summarised in the B report said. He is also the Legal Officer of Araliya Lands and Homes Pvt Ltd located at 381/B, Kandy, Road, Mahara, Kadawatha. He was instructed by the management to buy the land in Nuwara Eliya and he followed due process.

A meeting organised at the Araliya Lands and Homes office on October 18, 2019, to transfer the deeds was attended by Mrs Edwards with another person, PA Properties Chairman Wijayananda Sirisena, his Private Secretary and Araliya Lands and Homes Working Director Hiroshan Chathuranga. It was agreed in writing that funds relevant to the deal would be deposited with Mrs Edwards at a future date.

On June 10, 2020, the Court had determined that, based on the facts so far made available, there was sufficient evidence to name Mr and Mrs Edwards as suspects in the crime of money laundering. It gave instructions that the relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure Code be applied.

The FCID arrested the couple on June 24. In his statement, Mr Edwards claimed that the monies in question in the ongoing investigation were sent by American investors through brokers. A previous B report showed that he received at least US$ 55,084,865.50 and GBP 255,101.22. That is more than Rs 7.24bn. Of this, more than Rs 5.82bn was used to buy property.

Teh suspects’ lawyers told court that Mr Edwards had direct contact with the investors abroad through an entity called Alamo Navajo with whom he had an agreement to use the money on properties in Sri Lanka.

However, Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne in her order held that, based on facts presented to court from the inception of the case, it appeared that the money of investors abroad was transferred to Sri Lanka for the purpose of laundering.

While the suspects had bought properties in their name with the funds some time ago, they had not paid any returns, she said. And the properties are still held in their names. The Magistrate remanded Mr and Mrs Edwards till July 7.

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