He and four others have been arrested on money laundering allegations

 Arresting Yoshitha was Sirisenas political revenge says Mahinda Rajapaksa
news Sri Lanka Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 11:26

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's son was arrested on Saturday along with four other people over money laundering allegations.

Yoshitha Rajapaksa, the second son of ex-strongman Mahinda was, arrested and quizzed this morning by the police's Financial Crimes Division (FCID) at the Sri Lankan Navy headquarters, a navy spokesman said.

He and four others have been arrested on money laundering allegations, police said in a statement.

Yoshitha, who is a navy officer, is the first immediate family member of former President Mahinda to be arrested since his shock defeat at the hands of Maithripala Sirisena in the polls last year.

Rajapaksa on Saturday accused his successor Sirisena's government of exacting political "revenge" on him. "This is an attempt to seek revenge." 

"This issue does not come under the money laundering Act.

Our lawyers argued that," Rajapaksa told reporters outside the court after his son was taken away in a prison van.

"The irony is that they have arrested the son of the man who ended terrorism. The money laundering act was brought into stop terrorists bring in money. I have full confidence in the judiciary, I am sure justice will be executed," he said.

"I have no fear because I know my son had done nothing wrong," he added.

Yoshitha was quizzed in connection with TV channel Carlton Sports Network (CSN) which had close links with the Rajapaksa sons.

CSN was controversially handed over Sri Lankan cricket's television broadcast rights under the Rajapaksa regime. The broadcast rights had been the preserve of the state television until then.

Nishantha Ranatunga, who was CSN's CEO, was also among those arrested. He was also the Secretary of the Cricket governing body.

Sri Lanka witnessed a huge political change in the beginning of last year when Sirisena trounced Rajapaksa in the January 8 presidential race, ending his 10-year-rule.

Rajapaksa in August tried to stage a dramatic comeback as prime minister as Sri Lanka voted to elect a 225-member Parliament.

However, Rajapaksa's hopes were dashed as Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) won a closely- fought election to form a national unity government.

Apart from Yoshitha, Rajapaksa has two other sons -- Namal Rajapaksa, who is the eldest, and Rohith.


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