South Asia

Colombo police arrest alleged fraudster

Police in Sri Lanka say they have arrested a man alleged to be one of the most wanted fraudsters in the country.

Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody told the BBC's Sinhala service that Sakvithi Weerakumara Ranasinghe and his wife were detained near Colombo.

Police said the arrests were made following a tip-off.

The authorities had earlier sought the help of Interpol to arrest the suspect, who is accused of a multi-million dollar investment scam.

It is not known whether Mr Ranasinghe denies the allegations.

High returns

Mr Jayakody told the BBC that over 2,000 complaints against him have been received by the police.

The BBC's Saroj Pathirana says that his case is the most high-profile fraud investigation to be carried out by police for over a decade.

Thousands of people deposited large sums into his construction company, including sports personalities, senior policemen and military personnel.

Police say they were offered high returns - through the company's pyramid form of investment - which were not forthcoming.

They say that Mr Ranasinghe used a photo of himself with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in newspaper advertisements to attract investors.

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