Asia

Sri Lankan ex-president's son accused of money-laundering

Namal Rajapaksa Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Namal Rajapaksa has been remanded in custody for a week

The eldest son of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been arrested on suspicion of money-laundering, his lawyer has said.

Namal Rajapaksa, a member of parliament, is alleged to have laundered 45m Sri Lankan rupees ($310,000; £240,000) through two firms.

He has not commented on the latest accusation but has previously denied all wrongdoing.

A court in Colombo has remanded Mr Rajapaksa in custody for a week.

He was already on bail over allegations of accepting a bribe of more than $500,000 in connection with a property venture in the Sri Lankan capital.

Several members of the Rajapaksa family are under investigation over alleged corruption.

Namal's brother, Yoshitha, faces money-laundering charges while Mahinda's brother, Basil, the former economic development minister, has been arrested three times over suspected misuse of funds and money-laundering. He is currently on bail.

Both deny any wrongdoing.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who came to power last year, has promised to investigate allegations that members of the Rajapaksa family siphoned off billion of dollars of public money during Mahinda's nearly 10-year presidency.

The former president, now an opposition lawmaker, has also been heavily criticised internationally over alleged human rights abuses by the Sri Lankan military during a long-running war with Tamil separatists.

However, he is still popular among ethnic majority Sinhala Buddhists, who credit him with ending the conflict.

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