Kotelawela’s dodgy ways of hiding assets

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GK depositors reveal

President of the Golden Key Depositors’ Society, Wasantha Gunathilaka told the media on Friday (February 20) that the Chairman of the Golden Key Credit Card Company, Lalith Kotelawala has failed to repay the Golden Key depositors with the plan he has pledged.

Speaking in response to an interview given by Kotelawala to a government television station, in which he termed the deposits in Golden Key as “black money” a 96-year-old woman, Mala Perera and another former government servant said that they had deposited their hard earned money in the company.

“I am 96 now and I put in all my money in this company. Now we have been left with nothing. All we want is justice and I want my money back,” Perera told a packed media briefing. During the briefing attended by depositors they asked as to what happened to over 45 billion rupees, “that have gone missing” of the failed Ceylinco companies.

“There are five companies that fell with Golden Key and over 45 billion rupees is missing. What happened to this money? Where was it invested? The money can’t evaporate overnight,” they said.

Justice denied
Gunathilaka further said, “For the past years the depositors approached the judiciary seeking justice after being cheated by the Golden Key Company. The Supreme Court ordered the Central Bank to sell the private property of Directors of the Golden Key and repay the funds of the depositors. But so far this has not been implemented as expected. No relief has been granted to the depositors though years have lapsed.”
The President of the All Depositors’ Association, Dushanthi Hapugoda told the media that the Golden Key court case against Kotelawala has been a Guinness record for having extended for seven years before five Chief Justices in the country.
She also refuted Lalith Kotelawala’s recent claim in the media regarding people’s money deposited in Golden Key Company, for having referred that as ‘black money’. She stated that it is the hard-earned money that the innocent people have deposited in the Golden Key Company.

Why not Sicille?
She also charged that Lalith Kotelawala’s wife, Sicille Kotelawala, who was also among the Board of Directors, has not been brought to court to this day or taken steps to arrest her. She further added that they will discuss the issue with the President Maithripala Sirisena in near future and told that they would meet the Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake tomorrow ( February 22) to discuss the matter.

The companies defaulted by Ceylinco Group includes F & G Property Developers Ltd & Real Estate, Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment Corporation Ltd, Shiram company and CIR. Meanwhile F & G Property Developers Ltd also made allegations against Kotelawala and a protest will be held this week by the depositors and a petition will be given to the Prime Minister by then. “Why has she not been arrested yet? She was a director of the company and is currently living on the funds that they swindled from us. The British High Commission wrote to us saying that the government of Sri Lanka has not requested extradition,” the depositors said.

Lalith the scammer
Speaking further, they said that Lalith Kotelawala was a scammer, and had used various methods to hide his assets and still be in control of them.

“There is a fund called CIESOT which Lalith Kotelawala initially declared as one of his assets. They first agreed to give the assets amounting 6 billion to the fund. Then suddenly they got agitated and said the fund was for the employees of Ceylinco Insurance which is a blatant lie,” Hapugoda, Chairman of one of the associations said.

“Ceylinco Insurance itself had written in 2011 to the SEC and said that this was not owed to the employees. Now they have all changed their tune. These are rich and powerful people, and they even had the power to ensure that the former Chief Justice who was to give an order on CIESOT stepped down from the case”.

Mohan Pieris who was sitting as Chief Justice at the time stepped down from hearing the case in July last year, after what he termed a ” scurrilous letter” being circulated.

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