Jun 29, 2018

'NY Times report, a gross misrepresentation of facts'

A close aide of Sri Lanka's former president Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday rejected as "gross misrepresentation of facts" a media report that claimed China had funded his unsuccessful 2015 presidential re-run.

A recent New York Times report claimed that "large payments from the Chinese port construction fund flowed directly to campaign aides and activities for Rajapaksa, who had agreed to Chinese terms at every turn and was seen as an important ally in China's efforts to tilt influence away from India in South Asia."

"The payments were confirmed by documents and cash checks detailed in a government investigation seen by The New York Times," the report titled 'How China got Sri Lanka to cough up a Port' claimed.

Rajapaksa's aide Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who was the former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, termed the report as a "gross misrepresentation of facts". He described the NYT report as a piece of journalism which has "violated the truth in a shocking manner". "This is probably the type of propaganda under the veil of journalism that (US) President Donald Trump has been regularly referring to as 'fake' news or reports," Cabraal said in a statement.

He said the NYT had "chosen to ignore" all his responses relating to the Chinese loans and projects, as well as Sri Lanka's debt position under Rajapaksa which would have materially changed the flawed "findings" and highly suspect "conclusions".

The NYT report claimed that at least $7.6 million was dispensed from China Harbor's bank account in Colombo to affiliates of Rajapaksa.


(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by PTI has not been edited by SLM staff)