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Businessmen involved in Undiyal transactions revealed

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The police teams that investigated Undiyal and Hawala money transactions have been able to reveal information about over 80 people who provided facilities to exchange foreign currency through these informal methods.

It was reported that most of the people involved in these illegal transactions are Muslim businessmen.

Police internal sources said that they are investigating a poultry businessman who exchanges about 50,000 US Dollars daily.

‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ learns that the suspect is misusing a license issued by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka, to exchange currencies.

It was also revealed that such persons exchange foreign currency through informal methods such as Undiyal and Hawala using cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ also learnt that this aforementioned businessman had been living in Kuwait but had returned to Sri Lanka while a financial investigation was being conducted against him in that country.

In addition, police are also looking for information about five people in the areas of Kelaniya, Wattala, Dematagoda and Aluthkade where money is frequently exchanged.

USD 10 million traded daily

According to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) operating under the Ministry of Finance, more than USD 10 million are being received illegally on a daily basis through Hawala and Undiyal systems.

Information has also revealed that these illegal money transactions originate from Italy, UAE, England, Canada, Australia as well as many other European countries.

How does it work?

Undiyal and Hawala are methods of transferring money between two or more countries without the intervention of a bank or other formal financial institution. These methods operate through a network of people spread across many countries.

As an example, let’s take four persons: A (sender of money), B (Undiyal or Hawala broker in the country where A lives), C (Undiyal or Hawala broker in the country where the recipient lives), and D (the recipient of money).

Accordingly, A and B live in one country while C and D live in another.

A gives B the amount to be sent to D. Later, B gives C the amount given by A. C gives the amount to D in the currency of the respective country.

There are also instances where B gives the relevant amount to D from the deposits in his bank account maintained in the country where D lives, without the intervention of a person like C.

These transactions are based on a secret passcode or a mere description without any document or other form of recording.

In these transactions, there is no physical exchange of money across borders, and there is no intervention of a bank or other authorized money exchange agency.

A special police unit

According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), the significant reduction in the amount of foreign exchange received by the country is the main reason for the worsening economic crisis.

Transferring money outside the banking system using methods such as Undiyal and Hawala has significantly affected the amount of foreign exchange.

Taking these facts into consideration and at the request of the Governor of the Central Bank, the Inspector General of Police recently took steps to appoint a special police unit under the Illegal Assets Investigation Division to conduct investigations into incidents of money exchange through illegal methods.

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CBSL appoints two New Deputy Governors

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has appointed two new Deputy Governors, effective this week. 

Assistant Governor and Secretary to the Governing Board A.A.M. Thassim has been appointed as Deputy Governor starting June 20, while Assistant Governor J.P.R. Karunaratne will assume his new role on June 24.

These appointments were made by the Minister of Finance, following recommendations from the CBSL Governing Board, in accordance with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act, No. 16 of 2023.

Mr. Thassim brings over 31 years of experience at CBSL, having worked in various areas including Banking Supervision and Regulation, International Operations, and Risk Management. He has also been part of several high-level committees on monetary policy and financial stability.

Mr. Karunaratne, with over 33 years at CBSL, has extensive experience in the supervision and regulation of financial institutions, currency management, and public debt. He has significantly contributed to strengthening the legal framework and consolidation of the Non-Bank Financial Institutions sector.

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UK rejects TGTE appeal to lift LTTE proscription

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The UK Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission has rejected an appeal by the Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) to lift the proscription on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation in Britain.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, confirmed that the UK will continue to maintain the proscription on the LTTE. Announcing this on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), Sabry noted that the independent court, headed by a high court judge and two retired senior diplomats, ruled against de-proscribing the LTTE.

The TGTE, which supports the creation of an independent Tamil state in north-east Sri Lanka, had appealed to the UK to lift its ban on the LTTE. However, the TGTE itself is not proscribed in the UK as it seeks to achieve its political and ideological objectives through non-violent means.

Sabry further stated, “The LTTE international network’s approach and strategy is to get foreign governments to de-proscribe the LTTE so that they could revive the LTTE.”

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Thai PM justifies frequent international trips, including a visit to Sri Lanka

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin defended his frequent globe-trotting during his first 10 months as leader of the Southeast Asian nation, in remarks aired in a television broadcast on Saturday.

A real estate tycoon and political newcomer who became prime minister in August last year, Srettha made 15 overseas visits and pledged a two-month halt in March in response to public criticism.

“Some of these visits are not avoidable,” he said, referring to those for official meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as to China and Japan, while a third was to Sri Lanka to sign a free trade pact.

Other visits aimed to draw trade and investment, said Srettha, nicknamed Thailand’s salesman, who has often spoken of his goal of luring more foreign investment to the country.

“It’s necessary to go,” he said in the remarks recorded in advance.

Source: Reuters

–Agencies

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