Sri Lanka’s prime minister has defended utilising the services of Baker & McKenzie that included helping draft new laws to assist in the island nation’s economic transformation, according to reports in local media.

According to a report, Sri Lanka's Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) is paying the firm $2.3 million for 12 weeks of work. 

Following media scrutiny, the prime minister's office issued a statement defending the decision to employ Baker & Mckenzie. The office said that the firm has been retained to advise on the suitability and implications legal and tax regimes used by business centres around the world such as Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands, Dubai and Hong Kong. 

It is also advising the Sri Lankan government on Indonesian tax laws and other similar laws, as well as introducing a “Malaysian model” for project monitoring developed by the firm.  

The prime minister’s office also denied reports that Baker & McKenzie had opened an office in Colombo and was practicing Sri Lankan law, noting that the firm was providing its services from its Hong Kong office. 

For the year ended June 30, 2016, Baker & McKenzie announced global revenues of $2.62 billion, with a 14 percent increase in profits and 150 new partners worldwide.

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