POLITICS

Tory Donor Lycamobile's Links To Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa's Family Sparks Outrage

15/11/2013 16:42 | Updated 18 November 2013

David Cameron has come under fire after it emerged that one of the Tory Party's top donors, Lycamobile, has close links to the Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime.

The government's human rights record has sparked international outcry, facing accusations of committing war crimes in the civil war with Tamil separatists in 2009. The prime ministers of India, Canada and Mauritius are all boycotting the CHOGM, while David Cameron has called for an investigation into the war crimes allegations.

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka greets David Cameron ahead of the CHOGM

Hastings Trading e Serviços, a Portuguese company owned by the Lyca Group, bought a 95% share in a dormant firm registered with Rajapaksa's nephew, Himal Lalindra Hettiarachchi, in 2009, the Sunday Leader reported. The firm went on to win a major licence to manage cutting-edge "WiMax" broadband frequencies in Sri Lanka, which forced the state telecom firm that failed to get the licence to merge with it at a cost of $100 million.

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Lyca's travel agency Lycafly became the preferred partner of Sri Lankan Airlines, which is chaired by Rajapaksa's brother-in-law, Corporate Watch reported. Lycafly now promote themselves as Sri Lankan Airlines' "top agents".

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett told the Huffington Post UK: "It's no wonder that we have a crisis in confidence in our democracy when business interests and those of our politicians are so closely intertwined.

"The fact that our largest political parties rely on massive business funding draws questions about the motives for their actions."

Labour MP Kerry McCarthy told Corporate Watch: “David Cameron has failed to make human rights a priority in the run up to CHOGM, both in terms of his own attendance and in terms of his apparent focus on drumming up business opportunities with little regard for the human rights context in which the meeting is taking place”.

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