Cricket News

Sri Lanka Cricket's chief finance officer arrested for suspected TV rights fraud - police

COLOMBO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Police arrested the chief financial officer of Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday for suspected financial misappropriation linked with awarding telecast rights to Sony TV, police said.

The International Cricket Council said this month that its anti-corruption unit was investigating serious allegations in Sri Lankan cricket and had provided a detailed briefing to the country’s president, prime minister and sports minister.

“Following the investigation the CID arrested the main suspect. He is the chief financial officer of Sri Lanka Cricket,” Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told Reuters, naming him as 42-year old Wimal Nandika Dissanayake.

Dissanayake’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

He was arrested after the SLC’s chief executive officer lodged a complaint to the police over financial fraud, the police spokesman said.

“The complaint says the SLC’s television rights have been going to Sony since 2013. At the last South African tour, this main suspect asked Sony to deposit 15 percent of the television rights fees to a private account in America.”

He said the amount of money misappropriated on South African tours was more than $187,000.

“Sony became suspicious when this suspect informed it (of the requirement) for a deposit of 50 percent of television rights fees from an ongoing England tour and it informed Sri Lanka cricket.”

Sony could not immediately be reached for comment.

The arrest came a week after former Sri Lanka captain and selector Sanath Jayasuriya was charged with two counts of breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code.

An official at Sri Lanka Cricket said it had given all its support to the anti-corruption team in its investigation.

Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup winning team captain Arjuna Ranatunga said he and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had sought India’s expertise in dealing with the investigation because Indian police had a good record for probing match fixing and other corrupt practices bedevilling the sport.

“We made this request because it is not only the players who are involved in this corruption. There is a group behind the players like bookies and betting agents. If we get the group, we can find out the root cause of this problem,” he told reporters in Colombo after a three day visit to India.

Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez Editing by Richard Balmforth