Thursday, April 22, 2021

Former CEO of SriLankan Airlines and wife arrested over Airbus money laundering allegations


Attorney General Dappula de Livera has ordered the CID to arrest former SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena and his wife Priyanka Niyomali Wijenayaka on charges of money laundering in the SriLankan Airlines – Airbus Re-Fleet deal.

A communique issued by the AG’s Coordinating Officer Nishara Jayaratne said that de Livera had taken this decision after “considering Investigative material submitted by CID.”

On Saturday the news broke that Airbus had bribed the wife of a SriLankan airlines executive in securing the deal to sell several Airbus 330 to the airline.

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The information was revealed in court documents submitted in a plea bargain that Airbus secured after being investigated for corruption by the US, the USA and France.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered an investigation into the allegation.

According to these documents Airbus aviation group had offered a 16 million US dollar bribe to the wife of an employee of Sri Lanka’s state airline for a large aircraft order, and at least two million dollars were paid to a ‘straw company’ set up in Brunei.

The aircraft manufacturer had “failed to prevent persons associated with Airbus SE from bribing others concerned with the purchase of aircraft by SriLankan Airlines from Airbus, namely directors and/or employees of SriLankan Airlines,” between July 01, 2011 and June 2015, the judgement said.

The lady agent had dealt with Airbus when 14 planes were ordered in a controversial deal in 2013, to as late as October 2015, the filings said.

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While UK laws allow agents to be paid commissions, they must be experienced independent consultants, with no connections to the customer, who can canvass and bring in business.


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