The CID has commenced investigations into a multi-million rupee fraud, where cheques transferred between two banks in Canada had been intercepted and brought to Sri Lanka and an account opened in the name of the payee of the stolen cheque and cash withdrawn.
Investigators have so far arrested 10 suspects, including a bank employee, after the first incident was reported. When the first cheque to the value of Rs 42 million was fraudulently encashed by the suspects the Canadian Bank had alerted the local Police and CID took over investigations.
During the course of investigations the CID recovered eight more cheques to the value of Rs 130 million.
The suspects have opened accounts in several local banks in the names of the payees. Some were in the names of individuals while others were in the names of the companies mentioned on the cheques.
The modus operandi had been to intercept high value cheques while in transit between two banks and for one person to fly to Sri Lanka with the cheques. Later, an account would be opened in the name of the payee, depositing a formal amount and subsequently the stolen cheque deposited and the money withdrawn once it was realized. The suspect bank employee had assisted the suspects to speed up the process. Nine such accounts, opened in several commercial banks, have now been frozen.
The CID is now probing whether the monies fraudulently withdrawn had been diverted to the LTTE.