Press release

The Relationship between the Republic of Seychelles and Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka goes ‘beyond politics’

January 21, 2015

In responding to allegations made in a Sri Lankan publication about speculation concerning assets held in Seychelles by the former President of Sri Lanka, the Seychelles Government has reiterated that Seychelles has nothing to hide and has said that if the Sri Lankan Government undertakes an investigation, that the Seychelles government is open to assist in the framework of treaties that are in force between the two counties.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, has emphasised that the partnership between the two countries is one which goes ‘beyond politics.’

“There are so many areas where mutually beneficial partnerships have been formed- from the boats being built by Seychellois in Sri Lankan shipyards to the emergence of Sri Lanka as one of the preferred destinations for Seychellois for tourism, including medical tourism. These ties go beyond politics, emphasised the Minister.

The Minister stated that Seychelles had confidence that agreements that exist between the two countries as well as their partnership in multilateral initiatives tackling possible financial crimes could be used to address any concerns.

He stressed that the Government of Seychelles is willing to co-operate to pursue any investigations in regards to these allegations especially since any Sri Lankan investments can be verified under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement signed between the two countries which included a Tax Information Exchange Component, a standard for all agreements of this nature signed by Seychelles.

The Government of Seychelles has expressed its desire to continue to work closely with the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and that the excellent ties that the two island states share are an expression of people to people relationships based on shared cultural, diplomatic and commercial aspirations which are beyond politics. Cooperation between the Republic of Seychelles and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have developed in numerous fields including trade and investment, defence, renewable energy, education and training, health, diplomacy, fisheries, sports and culture will be consolidated in the years to come.

The Minister has written to his counterpart at the Ministry of External Relations of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka expressing concern at the unfounded allegations leveled against the financial services sector of the Republic of Seychelles in the Sri Lankan media.

Minister Adam noted “the allegations made against our financial services sector are unfounded.  Our priority is to continue to build our partnership based on people to people exchanges and  on our unique experiences as two Indian Ocean islands.  Sri Lanka  has achieved a lot since the end of its civil war. In addition to its socio-economic success, the recent democratic elections further emphasise the values we share based on peaceful sustainable development, tolerance, respect  and the primacy of the rule of law.”

Seychelles has some of the most robust and effective  anti money laundering frameworks in the western Indian Ocean, whereby the established legislation and independent arbitration has resulted in an effective system to counter money laundering in all its forms.

Seychelles is also a fully committed signatory member of a number of international conventions dealing primarily with organised crime. As a full member of the Egmont Group, Seychelles cooperates with investigations of other jurisdictions under the auspices of the United Nations Transnational Organised Crime conventions. In addition to the various conventions and agreements to which Seychelles is party, the state is also fully engaged with the Stolen Assets Recovery (STAR) program of the World Bank in a number of matters pertaining to abuses of Seychelles’ financial services sector.

“We refute the baseless accusation made in that article that “Seychelles is known to be a safe haven for stolen assets and a money laundering hub, Should the Sri Lankan authorities wish to further look into this issue, kindly count on the unwavering support of the Government of Seychelles to ensure that the appropriate investigation is conducted,” said Minister Adam.

Minister Adam met today with Resident Sri Lankan high Commissioner accredited to the Republic of Seychelles; His Excellency Rajatha Piyatissa at Maison Queau de Quinssy where he highlighted that a strong relationship exists between Sri Lanka and Seychelles going beyond politics. The High Commissioner concurred and remarked that both nations shared “a mutually beneficial partnership across a variety of fields that should be fostered.”

Minister Adam stated that the allegations in the media are not a reflection of the comprehensive and reciprocal relationship enjoyed by the two countries and regardless of the allegations Sri Lanka and Seychelles will continue to maintain a solid working relationship and strategic partnership. Minister Adam reiterated the remarks in his message to High Commisioner Piyatissa that Seychelles valued its relationship with Sri Lanka and looks forward to continue to foster close ties.