The Opposition is trying to create a fear psyche among would be investors in Sri Lanka as part and parcel of a sinister move to destabilize the economy, Finance and Mass Media State Minister Eran Wickramaratne yesterday.

Releasing a statement to the media, the State Minister said these allegations by the Opposition were baseless, especially since the country achieved the largest FDIs in history last year.

Speaking further, he categorically denied claims that the government mulled amending the Companies Act to send the details of persons having 25 percent of the shares in Public Limited Companies to the CID to inquire on acts of money laundering.

He added that there was also no basis in saying that wider powers were to be given to the CID to question directors and shareholders of private companies.

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.7 of 2007.

“This amendment approved by Cabinet incorporates the requirement of maintaining of a register, which contains details of the beneficial interest in shares or warrants or similar interest held by any individual who owns 25 percent or more of the issued shares of any public limited company”, he said.

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 Register of Companies annually along with the annual returns of the company.

The State Minister noted that these measures were taken 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.

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