Basil Rajapaksa is a Sri Lankan-American politician who was not only a member of the Sri Lankan parliament but also a Minister of Finance. He is known to be the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who were Sri Lanka’s former Presidents.
Basil Rohana Rajapaksa was born on Friday, 27 April 1951 (age 71 years; as of 2022) in Giruwapaththuwa, Hambantota district, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). After completing his primary schooling at the Isipathana College, in 1962, Basil Rajapaksa enrolled at the Ananda College, where he completed his secondary schooling.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
A photo of Basil Rajapaksa with Ajit Doval, the Indian National Security Advisor (NSA)
Basil Rajapaksa belongs to a Sri Lankan Sinhalese family.
Parents & Siblings
His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a freedom fighter and a politician.
A photograph of Basil Rajapaksa’s father DA Rajapaksa
His mother’s name was Dandina Rajapaksa.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, elder brother of Basil, offering a garland at his mother’s portrait during the death anniversary of his mother
Basil Rajapaksa had eight siblings. Chamal Rajapaksa, the eldest of them all, was a former speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament and a lawyer.
Chamal Rajapaksa, brother of Basil
His elder brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is the former President of Sri Lanka, who fled the country in July 2022 amidst the economic crisis in Sri Lanka. His brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is the former President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
A photo of Basil Rajapaksa with Mahinda Rajapaksa (middle) and Gotabaya Rajapaksa (right)
His younger sister, Gandini Rajapaksa, died on 8 May 2017. His younger sister, Jayanthi Rajapaksa, is a former member of the Sri Lankan parliament and was a former deputy minister of water supply and drainage. His sister, Preethi Rajapaksa, was a teacher. His other sister’s name is Gandini Rajapaksa. His younger brother, Dudley Rajapaksa, is a vice president of QA/RA/Technical Service at Berlin Heart GmbH.
Dudley Rajapaksa, brother of Basil Rajapaksa
His brother, Chandra Tudor Rajapaksa, died in July 2022.
Chandra Tudor Rajapaksa, deceased brother of Basil
Wife & Children
His wife, Pushpa Rajapaksa, founded the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation.
Pushpa Rajapaksa handing over documents to Sri Lankan government official
He has three daughters named Thejani, Bimalka, and Ashantha.
A photo of Bimalka with her husband
He has a son named Asanka Rajapaksa.
A photo of Asanka Rajapaksa during his marriage ceremony
Basil Rajapaksa follows Buddhism.
- House number 1316, Jayanthipura, Nelum Mawatha, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.
- 15067 Preston Dr, Fontana, CA 92336, the United States of America.
Reportedly, Basil Rajapaksa’s affiliation with politics began at an early age when he assisted his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa in campaigning for the 1970 Sri Lankan general elections following which he joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and contested the 1977 general elections in Sri Lanka from the Mulkirigala Electorate against a United National Party (UNP) candidate; however, he was defeated in the elections. After losing the elections, Basil left the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and joined the United National Party (UNP), where he worked with the former President of Sri Lankan J. R. Jayewardene. Even though Basil Rajapaksa was a member of the UNP, he openly supported Mahinda Rajapaksa during the elections and even campaigned for him. During the 1994 Sri Lankan General Elections, Basil Rajapaksa campaigned for Mahinda. In the elections, the SLFP and the coalition parties won. In 1997, he left the United National Party (UNP) following which he moved to the United States of America along with his family.
Basil Rajapaksa’s American passport
In 2005, he returned to Sri Lanka from the US and helped Mahinda during his 2005 presidential election campaign. After Mahinda won the elections, he appointed Basil Rajapaksa as the advisor for the President. In 2007, Basil Rajapaksa became a member of the parliament from the national list. In 2010, Basil contested the parliamentary elections from the Gampaha district in Sri Lanka in which he managed to secure 4,00,000 votes. Basil Rajapaksa once again contested the Sri Lankan general elections in 2021, where he secured a victory against his UNP rival following which Basil was appointed as the Minister of Finance by his elder brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who back then was the President of Sri Lanka; however, upon failing to meet the expectations of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in resolving the financial crisis in Sri Lanka, Basil was removed from his post on 4 April 2022.
Basil Rajapaksa handing over documents to Gotabaya Rajapaksa after swearing in as the Finance Minister
On 10 June 2022, following the outbreak of a violent protest in Sri Lanka, Basil Rajapaksa resigned from his membership in the Sri Lankan parliament.
The Sri Lankan crisis of 2022
In 2022, following the inability of the country to repay its debt, Sri Lanka was declared a sovereign default, and the country plummeted into an economical crisis. After getting removed as the Minister of Finance in April 2022, Basil Rajapaksa attempted to flee Sri Lanka to the US; however, at the Colombo airport, the Sri Lankan staff prevented him from doing so. In September 2022, he filed an appeal at the Sri Lankan Supreme Court in which he asked the court to allow him to travel overseas for medical reasons and to attend to some family affairs. The court, on 9 September 2022, gave its judgement in favour of Basil following which he moved to the US.
Allegations of corruption
According to several sources, Basil Rajapaksa has been involved in a series of corrupt practices while serving as the Minister of Finance in Sri Lanka. In 2015, when Ranil Wickremesinghe, who back then was the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, established Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), Basil Rajapaksa was arrested by the FCID for allegedly taking part in corrupt practices. After his arrest, Basil Rajapaksa said,
They have no evidence. They are making wild allegations. This is a witch hunt. Neither I nor any member of my family has ill-gotten money.”
In 2016, Muditha Jayakody, a close associate of Basil wrote a letter to the FCID in which he claimed that Basil had laundered $240 million from public funds by transferring the money to his account and instructing him to purchase the 16 acres of land on the banks of Kelani river for him. Talking about the letter, Muditha said,
That money is not earned by me at all, nor did it belong to me or my company in any sense. It belonged to another person, and based on his instructions, I purchased a land to build a house at 111/3, Mahawatta, Gangabada Road, Mapitigama, Malwana.”
After the claims, the FCID arrested Basil on the charges of money laundering and a case was registered against Basil in 2016. Basil responded to the claims by filing an affidavit in the Poguda Magistrate in which he claimed that the claims against him were false and baseless as he had no ownership of the property. In 2017, the Poguda Magistrate ordered the FCID to auction the land; however, later, the court suspended its previous order. In 2015, the Attorney General of the FCID filed a complaint against Basil Rajapaksa for misusing public funds of the Divi Neguma Development Department (DNDD) by printing the 2015 Presidential elections campaigning goods worth Rs 24.9 million for his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa. Upon finding no conclusive evidence against Basil, the court dismissed the case in 2022. The court in its judgement said,
The prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there had been an abuse or a violation of the provisions of the Presidential Election Act through the process of printing and distributing these almanacs. According to the testimony of Dilan Kaluarachchi of the Divineguma Department who testified in this case, it has been revealed that the process of printing the almanacs had taken place in 2011. The witness had stated that since the inception of the Divineguma Department, it has been carried out in accordance with the objectives of the department. The witness stated that the printing of the almanacs for the year 2015 which is the basis of this case, took place in the latter half of the 2014 according to the same process.”
Accused of accepting donations from a Chinese firm
In 2018, the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) stated that during the 2015 Presidential elections in which Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated, the CICT donated nearly 20 million Sri Lankan rupees to Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation, which the foundation had asked CICT for constructing homes for the lower income families living in Sri Lanka. In its statement, the CICT said,
Once funding is allocated, CICT believes that the funding so allocated would be utilised for the said projects by the receiving agencies without CICT having to play a supervisory role into it.”
A photo of the cheque given by the CICT to Basil Rajapaksa’s wife Pushpa Rajapaksa’s foundation
Skipping parliamentary sessions as a minister of finance
In 2021, many Sri Lankan parliamentarians accused Basil of not attending the parliamentary sessions as a result of which they were unable to discuss economic affairs with him. Reportedly, when the Sri Lankan economy began to run out of foreign exchange, Basil refused to accept the deteriorating situation. Talking about it, a Sri Lankan parliamentarian said,
The Rajapaksas — especially Basil, a shadowy power broker before becoming the finance minister — should have seen the disaster coming. Basil was not willing to accept the fact that this financial crisis will lead to an economic crisis, and unless we are going to solve it, that will lead to a political crisis. He controlled everything. A sentiment repeated by other officials and diplomats, and he knew nothing of it.”
As of 2015, the net worth of the Rajapaksa family was approximately $18 billion (Rs 3.2 trillion).
According to several sources, Basil Rajapaksa owns a posh villa worth $240 million. The house is said to be spread across 16 acres of land on the banks of the Kelani river in Sri Lanka.
A photo of the Malwana mansion taken after it was torched by the protestors in Sri Lanka
- According to several sources, Basil Rajapaksa is also known by the name “Mr Ten Percent” for demanding a bribe of 10% of the total value of the contract released by the Sri Lankan government from private companies before passing their tenders.
- Many sources claimed that when Basil Rajapaksa served as the Minister of Finance, he used President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s high-security Range Rover for his personal use.
- In 2007, the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lankan government brought changes to the Sri Lankan constitution to allow Basil Rajapaksa, a dual citizenship holder, to contest elections in Sri Lanka.