Tory donor Lycamobile linked to Sri Lankan President’s family businesses


President Rajapaksa’s family is accused of cronyism for their control over extensive parts of the country’s economy and public positions, including airlines, hotels, banks and defence companies.

In 2007, the Madeira-based Hastings Trading e Serviços Lda, a company related to the Lyca Group, bought a 95% share in a dormant firm registered with Rajapaksa’s nephew. The firm then got a license to operate cutting-edge wireless broadband frequencies on the island, forcing the state telecom company (which was refused the license) to merge at a cost of $100m, according to reports in the Sunday Leader newspaper at the time.

Lyca’s travel agency Lycafly has since become the preferred partner of Sri Lankan Airlines, the flagship carrier chaired by Rajapaksa’s brother-in-law.

Lycafly also advertise package holidays in Sri Lanka, taking advantage of the controversial post-war tourism boom that critics say legitimises the President’s human rights record.

Lycafly, Lycamobile and Lycatel did not respond to Corporate Watch’s requests for comment.