Sri Lanka to ask Singapore to extradite ex-central bank chief Arjuna Mahendran

Former Sri Lankan central bank chief Arjuna Mahendran in a picture taken on Sept 3, 2015.
Former Sri Lankan central bank chief Arjuna Mahendran in a picture taken on Sept 3, 2015.ST FILE

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka will request the extradition from Singapore of an ex-central bank chief in relation to a US$74 million (S$103 million) insider trading scam, the attorney-general said Monday (Sept 2).

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 spokeswoman Nishara Jayaratne said, according to Agence France-Presse.

She 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 abroad, failing to appear in court to respond to charges.

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

The country's 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 had said Singapore had not responded to his call in January to return Mahendran.

 

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday (Sept 3) 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 deepened acrimony between Sirisena and his coalition partner Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who handpicked Mahendran to head the central bank.