Sri Lanka seeks to extradite ex-chief of its central bank

COLOMBO • Sri Lanka will request the extradition from Singapore of a former central bank chief in relation to a US$74 million (S$103 million) insider trading scam, the attorney-general has said.

Arjuna Mahendran, a Singapore national of Sri Lankan origin, was accused in 2015 of passing sensitive information to his bond-dealer son-in-law to make millions in undue profits.

"Documents amounting to 21,000 pages were submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence today to be lodged with Singapore," the attorney-general's spokesman said on Monday, reported Agence France-Presse.

She also said Mahendran had been indicted in June for causing losses of more than US$11 million to the state.

Mahendran and his son-in-law are accused of manipulating bond auctions in 2015 and 2016. He was named a key suspect in the scam in February last year and fled.

A damning presidential report into the scandal also accused Mahendran of insider trading and recommended the state recover its losses from the pair.

The central bank has launched a forensic audit to determine whether there was further insider trading during Mahendran's tenure between January 2015 and June 2016.

Mahendran is believed to be in Singapore.

In March, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said Singapore had not responded to his call in January to return Mahendran.

 

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that the Singapore Government would consider the extradition request once the necessary supporting information and documents were received.

It said the information and documents had been requested since Jan 18 this year, and the Sri Lankan High Commission has also confirmed that these documents have not yet been conveyed to the Singapore Government

"When we receive them, we will consider the extradition request further in accordance with Singapore law," the ministry said.

The allegations against Mahendran have deepened the acrimony between Mr Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who handpicked Mahendran to head the central bank.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2019, with the headline 'Sri Lanka seeks to extradite ex-chief of its central bank'. Print Edition | Subscribe