Real Owners


  • Settlement of a Fraud
  • Colombo Hilton Hotel Construction
  • Fraud on Sri Lanka Government
  • By Nihal Sri Ameresekere
  • Published: April, 2012
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Size: 8.25×11
  • Pages: 776
  • ISBN: 9781467897204
  • Our Price : $104.00 ($84.00 + Shipping $20.00)

Real Owners

Author brilliantly reveals with documentary evidence, extensive details of incisive investigations meticulously carried out by him, in tracing foreign assets and funds hidden in a complex structure of nominee companies, established in several foreign regimes, allegedly of a phenomenally successful, politically high-profile entrepreneur, who tragically crashes in his Lear Jet Aircraft in the Straits of Malacca. Author demonstrates the modus operandi, as to how funds and assets of politically exposed persons, forced to flee their countries, with siphoned resources of impoverished people, could be hidden under complex corporate structures, set-up by professional organizations, providing nominee Directors / nominee Shareholders, with Trust Instruments, with the real beneficial owners. This Book is invaluable in instances where political leaders / politically exposed persons are ousted from office, through mass uprisings and justifiable rebellions by people, whose resources have been pillaged and plundered, further impoverishing them. Author’s investigations cover secret complex corporate structures, headquartered in Hong Kong, with visible corporates operating in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, UK, and USA, with the ultimate beneficial owner’s secret trusteeship traced to an Administrator in Lichtenstein, who does not dispute the name of the real beneficial owner, but requires proof of death and devolution on claimants. This is an invaluable Book to those engaged in tracing wealth stashed away in foreign regimes by politically exposed persons hounded from their countries. Author also sheds light on judicial proceedings vis-a-vis intestate estates of issueless deceased, analysing the incongruousness of legal interpretations, and classical instances of unequal treatment before the law, tainted with politically inspired conduct. This is a valuable handbook to those involved in forensic accounting, investigation and law, and to those engaged in academic, educational and real endeavours in tracing assets and funds hidden in foreign regimes – an integral component of the UN Convention Against Corruption.

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“5.xiii  The said beneficial ownership of the foreign business interests and/or foreign assets and/or foreign business transactions of Late Mr. P. Upali Wijewardene had not been disputed and/or denied by the Administrators of the said ultimate Foreign Company, Kuril Anstalt in Liechtenstein, through which, we verily believe, he had directly and/or indirectly owned and controlled the several foreign companies, referred to in the said Joint-Report dated 26.4.2000 and elaborated upon in the said Interim-Report dated 13.9.2000 and the said Interim Report II dated 17.1.2001, and clearly depicted in the Chart 2 and  Chart 3 annexed hereto”

“5.xiv. Quoted hereinbelow is Section 13 of the said Interim-Report dated 17.1.2001 in relation to the aforesaid:

“13.1 On 25.5.1987, M/s Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law had addressed the following Letter to Dr. A. Wiederkehr & Mr. H. Gassner of Herbert Batliner, of 9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein, Switzerland on the subject of KURIL ANSTALT, on behalf of Mrs. H.A.D. Wijesundera and Mrs. A.K. Attygalle, as the 50% Heirs to the Estate of Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene, on the basis that the beneficial owner of the said KURIL ANSTALT had been the Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene, and that the aforesaid persons were the Administrators of KURIL ANSTALT, requesting them to protect the interests and rights of Mrs. H.A.D. Wijesundera and Mrs. A.K. Attygalle and let them have all the particulars in respect of the said Company KURIL ANSTALT.

13.2.   The full extract of the aforesaid Letter dated 25.5.1987 pertaining to the said KURIL ANSTALT addressed by M/s Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law to Dr. A. Wiederkehr & Mr. H. Gassner, of Herbert Batliner, of Liechtenstein on behalf of Mrs. H.A.D. Wijesundera and Mrs. A.K. Attygalle has been quoted below:

 “ Neelakandan                                         KN/DJWT-Ct.10(95)                                       25th May 1987




Dr. A. Wiederkehr & Mr. H. Gassner,

C/o. Buro Dr. Herbert Batliner,

Postfach 86,

Aeulestr, 74,

9490 Vaduz,



Dear Sirs,

KURIL ANSTALT – the interest


We are the Lawyers for Mrs. Anoja Wijesundera and Mrs. Kalyani Attygalle, who are the sisters of Mr. Philip Upali Wijewardena.

As you are perhaps aware Mr. Upali Wijewardena is missing from the 13th February 1983 and if he is dead, our clients are entitled to 50% of the assets of the estate of Mr. Upali Wijewardena.

As the aforesaid intestate heirs, our clients have consulted us to take necessary steps to protect their legal rights in respect of the assets of Mr. Upali Wijewardena.

We have been instructed that you are the Administrators of the said company namely, Kuril Anstalt and we are therefore, writing to request you to let us have all the particulars in respect of that company.

On behalf of our clients, we request you to maintain the status-quo of the company and protect the interests and rights of our clients as well.

Your early reply and co-operation in this matter will be appreciated.

 Yours faithfully,


13.3.   By Letter dated 3.6.1987 addressed to the said M/s Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law the aforementioned Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein had acknowledged and replied the aforesaid Letter dated 25.5.1987 of M/s Murugesu & Neelakandan thanking them very much for the same.

By the said Letter dated 3.6.1987 the said Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein, had not disputed, nor denied, the aforesaid assertions made in the aforesaid Letter dated 25.5.1987 by M/s Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law, particularly in regard to the Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene’s beneficial ownership of the said KURIL ANSTALT.

On the contrary, by the said Letter dated 3.6.1987, Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein had required the Original of the Death Certificate of Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene issued by the local authorities to be produced to the Board of Directors of the said Company KURIL ANSTALT and in addition the original of the Company Documents, in particular the Deed of Assignment, to enable them to disclose the particulars of the said Company to the second beneficiaries or their representatives in accordance with the rules of the Liechtenstein Company Law.

13.4.   The full extract of the aforesaid Letter dated 3.6.1987 pertaining to KURIL ANSTALT addressed by Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein to M/s Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law has been quoted below:

Vaduz, 3rd June 1987 sn

Mr. V. Murugesu


att. Mr. Neelakandan

Hemas Building (3rd Floor)

York Street Colombo 1.


Your Ref.: KN/DJWT-Ct.10(95)

Dear Mr. Neelakandan,


We are in receipt of your registered letter dated May 25, 1987 for which we thank you very much.

Please be informed that according to contingent rules of the Liechtenstein company law particulars of the company can only be disclosed to second beneficiaries or their representatives, if the original of a death certificate issued by the competent local authorities can be produced to the Board of Directors.

In addition to that the original of the company documents, in particular Deed of Assignement (Zessionserklarung) as well as the By-Laws (Belstatut) must be presented by any persons pretending that they are entitled to the assets of the company.

Yours sincerely,


Dr.iur. Alex Wiederkehr                                                                    ”

It is quite significant and important to note that as evidenced from the above, Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein had not disputed, nordenied, the aforesaid assertions made of Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene’s beneficial ownership of the said KURIL ANSTALT.

Significantly, Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein had called for the aforesaid Documentations from Mrs. H.A.D. Wijesundera and Mrs. A.K. Attygalle, recognising them as the second beneficiaries, he having not disputed, nor denied, that the Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene had been the prime beneficiary.

Had Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene had no such interest, whatsoever, in the said KURIL ANSTALT, then Dr. A. Wiederkehr of Herbert Batliner of Liechtenstein would not have so replied calling for the aforesaid Documentations.

Paragraph 5 b) of the aforesaid Petition dated 2.4.97 in the Testamentary Case D.C. Colombo No. 31166/T had stated;

“5 b)   Legal and/or equitable interests in Kuril Anstalt (a Lichtenstein-based legal entity) through which the deceased owned and/or controlled most of his overseas assets, including 100% or majority shareholdings in various companies, including

Kuril Enterprises Limited, (incorporated in Hong Kong),

Rex Limited, (Hong Kong),

Lex Limited, (Hong Kong),

Hyperion Investments Limited, (Hong Kong),

Upali International Ltd., (Hong Kong),

Upali (Singapore) Pte. Limited, (Singapore),

Upali (Thailand) Limited, (Thailand),

Kuril Trading Pte. Limited (Singapore),

Upali (Malaysia) Sdn. Berhad, (Malaysia),

Kuril Plantations Sdn. Berhad, (Malaysia),

Tenamaju Enterprises Sdn. Berhad, (Malaysia),

Giatjayu Sdn. Berhad, (Malaysia),

Grand Central Investment Holdings PLC. (UK), and

Upali (USA) Inc. (USA).

The deceased also directly and/or indirectly owned shares in

Nagolle (Ceylon) Rubber and Tea Plantations Limited, (UK),

The Yatiyantota (Ceylon) Rubber Company Limited, (UK),

Grand Central (Ceylon) Rubber Estates Limited, (UK),

Highland Tea Company of Ceylon Limited, (UK),

Nagolle Holdings Limited, (UK),

Richclan Limited, (UK),

Grand Central Limited, (UK)

Johnson and Barnes Limited, (UK),  

Jonbar Marketing Limited, (UK), and

Adams Peak Tea Estates Limited, (UK)”       

20.1.   The Malaysian Business Magazine of December 1981 had published a Profile of Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene;

“Cocoa is the vital link between this Sri Lankan and Malysia – a tie represented by two companies: Kuril Plantations and Upali Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.”

“His residence is luxurious Pantai Hills in Kuala Lumpur is appropriately named Cocoa Hill and greeting visitors at the doorway in a tall mature cocoa tree. Upali claims to be the only fully- integrated cocoa processor in Asia, doing everything from growing cocoa to manufacturing cocoa-based consumer products such as chocolates under the “Kandos” brand name.”

“It was to Malaysia that he first ventured out to from Sri Lanka in the early seventies acquiring by 1973 the Kuril Plantation in Bagan Datoh in Lower Perak, which were then under coconut. He invested in a cocoa–processing plant in Shah Alam the same year and had by then introduced a substantial acreage of cocoa under coconut in his estate.”

“Right now I have about 5,000 acres under cocoa in Bagan Datch. Cocoa beans from estates are processed into cocoa powder and cocoa butter in my processing plant in Shah Alam,” he said in addition to cocoa processing , the Shah Alam plant also manufactures the full range of Kandos chocolate products, about 80 per cent of which is sold in the local market.”

“In 1978, Upali invested in an $ 8 million fully-automated cocoa processing plant in Singapore. He recently opened up one in Thailand and has attempted to acquire some estate acreage in Indonesia.”

“But his next phase of expansion plans seems to be aimed at Sabah where he has just entered into joint-venture agreement with Korporasi  Pembangunan Desa on  50:50 basis, The new company called Desa Upali will be engaged in large scale cocoa planting and processing covering over 12,000 acres.”

“Outlining his plans, Upali said : “We took the land in April and we have already commenced planting. The whole area will be planted by next year. There will be 500 acres of cocoa and 500 of coconut. Two hundred acres of coconut will be intercropped with cocoa” ”

“In 1982, Desa Upali will commence planting on another 1,500 acres to be followed by 2,500 acres the year after. A cocoa processing plant will be set up in Lahad Datu town next year with processing capacity of 7,000 tonnes of cocoa beans. Till Upali’s own acreage come onstream in 1984, the plant will process cocoa bought from other estates in the area. By then capacity might have doubled to 14,000 tonnes.”

20.2.   The Insight Asia’s Business Magazine of May 1981 had published a Profile of Late Mr. P.U. Wijewardene;

“Wijewardene through a Malaysian plantation holding company and a bridging loan, had bought a 90 % interest in a publicly-quoted British firm called Grand Central Investment Holdings, which posseed the largest sterling properties in Sri Lanka”

“At this point Upali’s “clever gain”, as he calls it, came not in trading but in financing. The government allows Sri Lankan exporters to extend six months credit to customers, at 8.10 % interest, and Upali undertook such an arrangement with his vehicle firm. Some of the rubber was sold immediately, but instead of repatriating the money, a nominee company invested in the overseas money market, which yielded something like twice the credit interest. So Uapli was able to play with funds abroad without ever exporting a single rupee – and at the end of six months, the credit was promptly repaid”

“His group started in the early 1970’s. when Wijewardene took advantage of soft commodity markets and the apprehension over Bandarnaike’s regime to buy, for just US $ 300,000, A British-owned Sri Lankan company which had properties in Malaysia. Instead of retaining ownership of the Malaysian holdings, Upali immediately leased them to a Malaysian attorney of Sri Lankan descent who apparently acted as nominee. With land as collateral, and a guarantee from Haw Par, the company was able to buy 90 % interest in Grand Central and transfer control of the firm outside of Sri Lankan jurisdiction. The “foreign owned” Grand Central then began to buy out other Sri Lankan plantations. Meanwhile, the leases, known as Kuril Plantations, also raised US $ 1 m to start up Upali Malaysia.”

“Now a second generation of cocoa cows and cocoa calves being bred in Singapore and Thailand. With sales of US $ 150,000 per month after only three months of operation, Upali Thailand’s Kandos operation has already surpassed the one in Sri Lanka using the Sri Lankan consumer profiles and tariff restrictions as guides. Though unsuccessful in resuscitating a small and unprofitable Singapore chocolate factory, the group has used its experience to cut costs of Kandos chocolate in Malaysia and Thailand.”

“In turn, a Singapore cocoa-processing plant which came online in 1979 and is now in the midst of a US $ 8 m expansion, benefitted from the Malaysia processing plant which is somewhat smaller in size. With a capacity of 9,000 tonnes, the upgraded Singapore factory will double the group’s processing to 12,000 tonnes of beans per year. This represent 30 % of Malaysia’s total bean production and would make the Upali operations the largest in Asia.”

“Upali has already sold Nabisco, Mars and Hershey’s. To head his US marketing arm, Upali hired an experienced American cocoa trader, the first time a non-Sri Lankan was put in charge of a division. Two years after its 1979 opening, Upali US was producing US $ 17.5 m in annual sales, slightly over 40 % of all group’s overseas business. This will jump to US $ 35m in the year ending March 1982, for 60 % of the total.”

“His money is fixed on a 2000 hectares project in Sebah in a joint venture with state’s development bank. The US $ 4.6m effort will yield about 10,000 tonnes per year at maturity, beginning in 1984, 85, Other joint ventures are being discussed with Indonesia, India and Bangladesh, though the Indonesian venture is unlikely to go ahead as the potential for corruption is too formidable even for Upali.”

“During the past five years, he has purchased over one dozen British thoroughbreds through his Malaysian company, each one costing some US $ 50,000.”