Crown venture nears approval


Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, investment promotion minister, said that the government is finalizing its investment approval for Crown Ltd.’s planned Colombo joint venture and will present details to parliament soon. The minister’s comments came after two influential Buddhist monks spoke out separately against the project and threatened to lead their followers in protest. The minister has been insisting Crown’s venture is not a casino project despite confirmation from its partner, local Rank Holdings, but this week indicated that if Rank were merely shifting its license from its existing Star Dust casino, as it plans, that would not be a matter for his agency. “If there is a liquor store in a project, we do not approve it, it has to be dealt with by the excise department,” he said.