Sri Lanka’s police Tuesday arrested a key business partner of Namal Rajapaksa who is facing several charges relating to money laundering through several companies set up when his father was president.
Ornella Iresha Silva, a director of companies established by Rajapaksa, was wanted since August last year in connection with money laundering allegations, but she had fled the country promoting courts to issue an international arrest warrant.
It is not immediately clear if Abu Dhabi authorities had executed the Interpol Red Notice or she was simply departed on a direct flight to Colombo to be arrested on arrival by local authorities.
“The immigration authorities handed her over to the police as she tried to enter the country,” a police official said. “The immigration authorities were acting on the basis of court orders.”
The police Financial Crimes Investigating Division had been keen to interview Iresha Silva who is a respondent along with Namal.
Ornella Iresha Silva and Nithya Senani Samaranayake, a SriLankan Airlines stewardess released to work with Namal during the previous regime, had been directors of Namal Rajapaksa’s Gowers Corporate Services (Private) Limited (GCSL).
The GCSL is at the centre of several money laundering investigations.
SriLankan stewardess Samaranayake was arrested while she was about to board a Sri Lankan flight last year and remanded.
She was granted bail in June along with another suspect, Sujani Bogollagama, the daughter of Eastern province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama.
The current SriLankan board headed by Ajit Dias has been faulted for not taking action to recover over four million rupees paid from SriLankan funds to Senani Samaranayake for services rendered to Namal Rajapaksa
Tuesday’s arrest of Iresha Silva could speed up the court proceedings.