The Attorney-General of Sri Lanka, Dappula de Livera said on September 2 that Sri Lanka will appeal the extradition of an ex-central bank chief and economist Lakshman Arjuna Mahendran anytime soon in relation to a US $74 million trading fraud. Colombo has accused Singapore of defending and shielding him. Arjuna Mahendran is a Singaporean-Sri Lankan economist, accused in 2015 for passing confidential information and data to his share-partner son-in-law for making millions of illicit profits. The attorney general's spokesperson Nishara Jayaratne said the documents containing around 21000 pages were submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence on Monday to be presented formally to the proper authorities with Singapore.
She said Mahendran had been charged with a crime in June for causing immense losses of around USD 11 million to the state. He and his bond-dealer son-in-law are allegedly accused of tricking and cheating bond auctions in 2015 and 2016. Last year in February, he escaped and fled abroad. He failed to be present at the court for a hearing to respond to the charges levied on him. He was also termed as a key suspect in the million-dollar scam. A former presidential report researched and gained facts about the scandal and accused Mahendran of insider trading and asked the state to recover its losses from the duo traders. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has launched a forensic audit to deduce facts whether there was any further insider trading during Mahendran's term between January 2015 and June 2016.
Arjuna is believed to be residing in Singapore. In March, the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has accused the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of sheltering him. Meanwhile, on the other hand, Singapore held on the extradition process saying that the extradition requested by Colombo is deficient. Sri Lanka's Chief Prosecutor countering Singapore's statements said that the authorities had completed the legal requirements with all the required documents needed to file an extradition request with Singapore. The allegations deepened tensions between President Sirisena and his coalition partner Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who chose Mahendran to head the Central Bank.
(With inputs from PTI)