December 04, 2022

Top Sri Lankan official admits to arms deal with North Korea, then backtracks

Reported deal using black market money during island’s bloody civil war may have violated sanctions, experts say

A top Sri Lankan official reportedly admitted his government purchased weapons from North Korea during the island nation’s decades-long civil war, only to backtrack days later and claim he never said as much.

Basil Rajapaksa, a dual U.S.-Sri Lankan citizen who serves as both a member of parliament and finance minister, made the alleged remarks last week during an interview with the Sunday Divaina about the country’s ongoing financial crisis, raising questions about potential sanctions violations and renewing focus on Colombo’s past dealings with Pyongyang.