Suicides increase, affects economy
While the legal big wigs are battling it out and Ceylinco mastermind
Lalith Kotalawela is resting in a hospital bed, seven depositors have
lost their lives and the list is sure to increase.
take to the streets
The scandal, which erupted like a tsunami last November when the
Ceylinco Golden Key Credit Card Company failed to honour its payments to
depositors, soon spread to other institutions. Today, it is estimated
that a sum exceeding Rs. 26.5 billion had to be paid to the 9,054
The first victim was Jayantha Cooray, a resident of Kalutara who
suffered a stroke. His wife said that doctors had prescribed drugs which
had to be taken daily by him to recover. His wife kept Jayantha alive by
providing these drugs out of the interest they generated from the
However, with the monthly interest drying up, she had no access to
finances and was seen weeping helplessly begging the Ceylinco
authorities to give her money (Rs. 3.5 million) back. With no medication
Jayantha’s health deteriorated and he ultimately met his death. The
second victim was Hubert Fernando of Wennappuwa who had deposited Rs. 6
million and died of a heart attack as the interest dried up.
Musician Peter Prince was another victim of the Ceylinco scam along
with Bietrice Mendis of Kohuwela. Journalist R. Manamendra also
committed suicide due to sheer desperation. Another depositor who had
invested Rs. 20 million, hanged himself last Wednesday in Mount Lavinia
and M. Dhanapala was the seventh victim to meet his death due to the
pain he suffered as a result of the scam.
President of Ceylinco Depositors Association, Anusha Emmert said that
all the victims incurred their wrath on the Ceylinco Group and the men
behind the scandal.
She asked as to why the long arm of the law is taking such a long
time to bring the Ceylinco officials who have fled abroad to Sri Lanka
to face legal consequences.
Anusha also emphasized that other than a few individuals all the
Ceylinco depositors have invested their hard eared savings.
“Only one percent may have deposited black money,” she said.
She said that they would once again lead a massive protest on August
21 in Colombo to open the eyes of the authorities. “It is almost six
months and there is no solution in sight. This is why we want to agitate
to get the attention of the authorities,” she added.
The scandal is also having an impact on the economy as the cash flow
to the Western Province alone has reduced by over Rs. 3 billion due to
the Ceylinco Group issue.
The Golden Key Credit Card Company and the Ceylinco Group was paying
close to Rs. 2 billion monthly as interest to their depositors and this
has resulted in reducing the buying power of depositors and their
It is estimated that the Ceylinco Group paid around 23 percent
interest to their deposits on average.
The Ceylinco issue started with the Golden Key Credit Card Company
sham and soon spread to its other subsidiaries resulting in over 2,000
employees being deprived of their salaries.
In addition, due to the ‘financial storm’ in the Ceylinco Group over
3,000 jobs have been lost or put on hold and this too is minimizing the
cash flow to the economy resulting in the employees having less
Senior Manager Special Projects, Ceylinco Golden Key Credit Card
Company, Ravi Perera said that they request at least their EPF be paid
“This is not a solution. However, it would ease our financial
tension,” he said.
The Central Bank maintains that they are not in a position to
intervene as depositors have placed their deposits in unlawful financial
“We have been publishing names of these institutions and depositors
should have been careful,” an official from the Central Bank said.
He, however, said that since the issue is a major scandal they have
taken meaningful steps in giving over the management of the Seylan Bank
to a consortium saving the banking sector from collapse.
Ceylinco scam at a glance.
Some of Ceylinco financial companies fail to pay interest to their
depositors and stops withdrawals Golden Key Credit Card Co. payments
made by cheques start bouncing
Golden Key Credit Card Co. crashes and closed down.
Chief Executive Director of the Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd, S.
Khavan M. Perera, is arrested.
Chairman, Ceylinco Group, Dr. Lalith Kotelawala issues a public
statement that during the last few days, he had realised that the Golden
Key has been involved in a major credit card fraud and that the
employees of Golden Key are now beginning to reveal certain facts
regarding the involvement of Khavan Perera.
Perera admitted to mismanagement In newspapers advertisements Golden
Key customers are summoned for a meeting to BMICH where angry depositors
chased away the Chairman of Ceylinco Group Lalith Kotelawala who says
that his group would exit Seylan Bank to raise funds.
Due to panic withdrawals, Central Bank appoints a new board to Seylan
Bank with senior banks at the helm.
February 26, 2009 -
Court orders Chairman Lalith Kotelawala to be remanded in connection
with the Golden Key fraud.
Depositors Union stage series of protests.
First depositor dies as he does not have money to pay for his
The Colombo Magistrate Courts issues a restriction order on the
director board of the Finance and Guarantee Co. Ltd (F and G Co.),
another affiliated company of the Ceylinco group from leaving country.
Court proceedings are still pending with depositors not being paid.
Some of Ceylinco Group companies:
Golden Key Credit Card Co. Seylan Bank, Ceylinco Savings, Ceylinco
Insurance, Leasing, Real Estate Developments, F&G Proper Developers,
Ceylinco Takaful, Diabetic Detection Centre, Bakery, Gramaen Banking,
Loan Schemes for Agricultural Small Holders, SOLO-U, Ceylinco-Gramaen
Automobiles Private Ltd, Ceylinco Travels, Car Rentals, Employment
Agencies, Security Services, Home-Nursing Services, Ceylinco Sarana
Cattle Protection Centre and a total of 300 institutions.