Sri Lanka police probe Maldivian money laundering racket â
Colombo 23 Sep:The Sri Lankan police have begun investigations into a large-scale money laundering racket carried out in Colombo which involved money being transferred from Maldives to illegal money transfer agents in Sri Lanka.The investigation comes in the backdrop of several raids carried into such illegal money transfer agencies.
“We have identified several locations in which Maldivians had transferred money through these agents in Colombo. We suspect that a portion of the money transferred from Maldives to Colombo is used for criminal operations such as the purchasing and distribution of narcotics and the smuggling of contraband,” a senior police officer speaking to Haveeru said.
“We are currently conducting further investigations into this and have so far received vital information on those operating in Sri Lanka. During the past few days we had conducted several raids on unauthorised money transfer agencies,” he said.
Last week, the Sri Lanka Customs seized Rs. 81.76 million (Rf11.4 million) which is the largest detection of foreign currency discovered in Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).Police investigations revealed that US Dollars, Sterling Pounds, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Kuwaiti Dinars, UAE Dirhams, Saudi Riyals, Swiss Francs and Euros were part of the find.
The Sri Lankan who was arrested with the foreign currency has confessed to police sleuths that the money was supposed to be delivered to an unauthorised money transfer agency.The crackdown on unauthorised money transfers agencies began early this month when the Colombo Fraud Bureau, which is an arm of the police, arrested nearly four suspects and seized nearly Rs.9 million (Rf1.25 million) worth of foreign currency when raids were carried in identified locations in the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.
It has been revealed that nearly Rs. 20 billion (Rf2.79 billion) worth of transactions of foreign currency takes place in Sri Lanka.Previously it was revealed that four key Maldivian narcotics peddlers who were busted by Maldivian authorities in June for their involvement in the smuggling of narcotics via Colombo to Male since 2005 had used one such prominent money transfer agency in Colombo.
The Maldivian police identified that the money transfer agency, Gallery, which is situated in a prominent shopping complex in Colombo, had been operating as a jewellery store and had been transferring money for the four Maldivian narcotics peddlers, who purchased drugs after receiving the money through the said money transfer agency.
( Haveeru Online)
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