Illegal ‘bank’ for huge foreign currency rackets
The Customs said yesterday the man who was arrested with foreign currency worth Rs.81 million at Katunayake Airport on Wednesday was suspected of being involved in smuggling money on behalf of a wider network of money-changers engaged in the illegal transfer of foreign currency.
A senior customs officer said foreigners and locals who were keen to avoid using banks for money transfers use these money changers.
“These money changers collect the money and charge a commission to take the cash across with the help of these men,” he said. “We imposed a fine of Rs.2.5 million and he was released. The carrier admitted he was asked to come to a place close to the Katunayake Railway Gate where he was given the bag with the money.”
The detection made by the Customs on Wednesday morning was the biggest detection in the history of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) when a Sri Lankan was arrested having foreign currency worth Rs.81.76 million which he attempted to smuggle to Singapore.
The Customs said the foreign currency included US dollars, sterling pounds, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, Kuwaiti dinar, Dubai dirhams, Saudi riyals, Swiss francs and Euros.
The 52-year-old Hambantota resident was on his way to board a flight bound to Singapore. The money was detected in his checked in luggage.
Customs made one of its biggest detections in the history of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) when a Sri Lankan was arrested having foreign currency worth Rs.81.76 million which he attempted to smuggle to Singapore today.
The Customs said the foreign currency including US Dollars, Sterling Pounds, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Kuwaiti Dinars, Dubai Dirhams, Saudi Riyals, Swiss Francs and Euros.
Customs Deputy Director Mali Piyasena said the 52-year-old resident of Hambantota was on his way to board a flight bound to Singapore and that the money was found in his checked luggage.
“The man has been engaged in smuggling foreign currency for a considerable time period,” he said. Customs is also investigating whether he was assisted by people working inside the BIA. (Supun Dias)