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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2522

Philippines seeks Vijayeswaran’s extradition from Indonesia

Colombo, 28, May,( The Philippine government has sought the extradition of Dato’ Vijayeswaran Vijayaratnam and three others who were recently arrested in Indonesia, Lanka Business of Line (LBO) reported yesterday quoting international press reports.

Vijayeswaran, a Malaysian national, is Chief Executive Officer of Quest International (QI), a group that has been active in Sri Lanka for the last six years and is involved in trading on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).

"As a group we firmly believe in investing in Sri Lanka despite the current situation in the country as we see Sri Lanka as a nation with great potential," a statement issued by QI in Hong Kong said last week.

This statement also disclosed that the QI group has "close on 5% shareholding" in the blue chip John Keells Holdings (JKH), just under 10% of the National Development Bank (NDB) and a 54% controlling stake in Ferntea which is also quoted on the CSE.

"We wish to reiterate that the QI group is committed to continue its investments in the Sri Lankan economy," the statement said.

According to company analysts, QI owns 3.43% of JKH through two companies, Fast Gain and Quest International, and Vijayaratnam himself. 0.7% of the company originally held by this group had been sold to another Malaysian called A.B. Khalid, these sources said.
Additionally, two local companies, Asia Fort and investor Access, believed connected to the QI group, also owns 1.98% of JKH.

The QI statement stressed that the case against Vijayeswaran, "has nothing whatsoever to do with the operations of the company" and explained that there was a civil dispute between Vijayeswaran and his business partners in the Philippines.

This case, according to QI had not yet been heard in Philippine courts and never gone to trial.

International reports quoted a Jakarta Metropolitan police spokesman telling the New Straits Times of Malaysia that the extradition request made by the Philippines was now being processed in an Indonesian court.

The Malaysian newspaper also quoted the chief of the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation’s criminal intelligence division saying that they had acted according to the Extradition Treaty (between the Philippine and Indonesia) and were also free to use diplomatic channels in this matter.

"The fact is he was properly charged without bail and he must come back (to the Philippines) for trial," the Philippines police official said.

LBO said that in Sri Lanka tens of thousands have lost money in a multi level marketing scheme known as "Goldquest" that QI ran here. This name was later changed to Questnet.

"In 2004 the scheme collapsed in Sri Lanka, leaving thousands penniless. The Central Bank estimated that 15 million dollars were siphoned out of the country illegally by Goldquest operators in 2004," LBO said.

- Asian Tribune -

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