Sept 03, Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) says it is not aware of the millions of Swiss francs deposited in Swiss bank accounts by Sri Lankans since the monies have been illegally sent out of the country.
The issue of millions of Swiss francs deposited in the Swiss banking system was revealed by Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) politburo member K.D. Lalkantha.
He said that Swiss National Bank data had recorded that in 2002, Sri Lanka's assets in all Swiss banks totaled 22.9 million Swiss francs, 34.7 million in 2003, 105.5 million in 2004, 177.6 million in 2005, 56.5 million in 2006, 123.5 million in 2007, 104.8 million in 2008, 87.5 million in 2009 and 111.3 million in 2010.
Last year the amount has been recorded at 85 million francs while liabilities have been recorded at 44 million francs.
Lalkantha explained that in 2005, the assets in the Swiss bank accounts have stood at 177.6 million francs.
"It is the year when a large amount of foreign funds flowed into the country following the December 2004 tsunami. So one could only imagine that there is a connection in the inflow of monies and the outflows to the Swiss bank accounts," he added.
He noted that the Central Bank could not shirk its responsibilities saying it does not know how the monies have been deposited.
According to Lalkantha, the CBSL needs to investigate into this matter since the monies deposited in the Swiss banking system are Sri Lankan assets.
Meanwhile, the CBSL's Exchange Control Unit has stated that it does not have any record of the monies deposited in Swiss bank accounts and they would have been deposited through illegal means.
Exchange Controller C. H. O. Chandrasoma has told the media the millions of francs that have reportedly been deposited in the Swiss banking system have been sent out of the country through illegal means.
He has explained that monies could be legally sent out of Sri Lanka only through three channels - for education, medical or business purposes.
However, he has admitted to hearing about millions deposited in Swiss bank accounts, but that there was no inquiry into such accounts by the Central Bank.
According to Chandrasoma, the Bank could investigate if there's a complaint of an irregularity, but so far there has been none.