Cabraal, who was handpicked to lead the bank by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was responsible for Sri Lanka's acute foreign exchange shortage and other financial woes, activist Keerthi Tennakoon argued.

Tennakoon told the court the former bank chief was also responsible for insider trading when he led the institution between 2006 and 2015. He was appointed to a new term in September last year.

Cabraal quit on Monday a day after the cabinet resigned en masse except Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president's brother. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

Senior government figures have accused the banker of misleading President Rajapaksa and preventing Colombo from seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund at an earlier date.

Last month the government said it will finally go to the IMF for help but talks are yet to begin.

Cabraal previously insisted he had a homegrown solution to boost foreign reserves, but the government has now run out of dollars to pay even for essential supplies.

The former bank chief was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

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