Speaking of the recent measures taken against money laundering and terrorism financing, the State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne categorically denied the claims, that the government mulls amending companies act to send the details of persons having 25 % of the shares in Public Limited Companies to CID to inquire on money laundering acts. It is also alleged that wider powers are to be given to CID to question Directors, shareholders of private companies.
Mr. Wickramaratne reiterated that opposition makes statements to create fear psycho among the would be investors in Sri Lanka as a part and parcel of the sinister move to destabilize the economy when the country has achieved the highest ever Foreign Direct Investment last year.
The government recently introduced special initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regime by amending the Companies Act No 07 of 2007. This amendment approved by the Cabinet of Ministers recently incorporates the requirement of maintaining of a register, which contains details of the beneficial interest in shares or warrants or similar interests held by any individual who owns 25 percent or more of the issued shares of any public limited company. Accordingly, every Public Limited Company will have to file records of such beneficial interest in the share, warrant or any other interest along with the personal details of the individual concerned with the Registrar of Companies annually along with the annual returns of the company.
These countermeasures were taken immediately as Sri Lanka was recently listed among the high-risk countries for money – laundering by the Inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the European Union following which Sri Lanka made a political commitment to the FATF to address any technical deficiencies in countering the money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regime.