The Karmapa Lama, who some speculate may succeed the Dalai Lama in leading the Tibetan diaspora community some day, is now being prosecuted for money-laundering after around 1 million USD in foreign currency was found during a raid on his Buddhist monastery four years ago.
A judge at the Himachal Pradesh High Court in India on Wednesday decided to go ahead with criminal proceedings against 30-year-old Karmapa Urgyen Trinley after a district court had dismissed the case in 2012, a verdict was which later appealed.
Investigators say they found a stash of bank notes made up of 26 different currencies during a bust at a monastery in Dharamshala back in January 2011, AFP reported. This included more than 100,000 USD in Chinese yuan.
Police were tipped off after pulling over two people carrying large amounts of cash, which they said was meant for a land deal linked to a trust headed by Trinley.
The monk maintains that the money isn’t corrupt and that, quite opposite, the stacks of bank notes were merely donations which the monastery had amassed over the years.
Both Beijing and the Dalai Lama recognize Trinley as the 17th reincarnation of Karmapa Lama, and he heads the Karma Kagyu school—one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He fled to India at the age of 14 and now mainly resides at the Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala.
According to AFP:
He is seen as as having the highest profile of a cast of young lamas who could succeed the Dalai Lama who has just turned 80. His appearances with the Dalai Lama have fuelled speculation he is being groomed as the Nobel peace laureate’s spiritual successor.
His spokesman Kunzang Chungyalpa said Trinley has great faith in India’s judicial system. “He strongly believes truth will prevail at the end,” he told AFP.