Businessman Thirukumar Nadesan, one of two Sri Lankans named in the Pandora papers exposé, has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declaring his innocence and requesting an impartial investigation.
“It is commonly believed that all persons whose names have been [divulged in the Pandora papers] are in some way guilty of wrongdoing.
“I assure Your Excellency that my wife and I are totally innocent and are guilty of no wrongdoings,” Nadesan said in a letter addressed to the president and copied to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday (06).
Nadesan’s wife former deputy minister Nirupama Rajapaksa is closely related to the president and prime minister, and the husband and wife duo are known, though low-profile, members of the powerful ruling family.
Nadesan and Nirupama Rajapaksa were named in the Pandora papers, a series of documents that have exposed the secret offshore affairs of 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state.
The investigation, carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reveals the secret finances of more than 300 other public officials such as government ministers, judges, mayors and military generals in more than 90 countries.
President Rajapaksa has already ordered an investigation. On Wednesday morning, he issued a directive to the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to investigate the matter and submit a report with a month.
Nadesan, however, has requested that an independent investigator, preferably a retired appellate court judge, conduct the probe so that his and his wife’s names are cleared.
“I am making this request to Your Excellency because my wife and I have suffered heartache and pain of mind. We have been presumed guilty, the presumption of innocence reversed,” he wrote.
The ICIJ findings include 11.9 million files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. According to international media reports, it is the world’s largest ever leak of offshore data to have exposed financial secrets of rich and powerful people.
The revelations have stirred much controversy in Sri Lanka.
The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) on Tuesday (05) called for a probe into the findings.