Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Washinton Jaliya Wickramasuriya, a first cousin of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been prosecuted in the US for five counts of charges ranging from wire fraud to immigration offences.
The case marks a new low in Sri Lankan foreign service as this is the first time a Sri Lankan diplomat is facing prosecution from the country he was posted to.
Wickramasuriya, a businessman by profession, served as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Washington for six years, until the Rajapaksa family fell out of power in January 2015.
In an Exclusive story, Economy Next, quoting US Justice department documents said the Sri Lankan authorities were keen to ensure that the very serious nature of charges against Wickramasuriya were made public to prevent a Rajapaksa administration in Colombo restoring his diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution.
Economy Next, quoting a US government document said, “In the last 10 days or so, there has been a change in the government of Sri Lanka. Several media outlets have referred to the matter as a constitutional crisis.
We have been advised by the United States officials in Sri Lanka that there will be a meeting to discuss and/or determine the immunity (of Wickramasuriya) issue on Sunday, November 11, 2018 and they believe that advising the Sri Lankan authorities of the fact that the defendant has been indicted will be of relevance and assistance in making their determination.”
Wickramasuriya was also arrested in late 2016 by the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division over misusing state funds during his tenure in Washington.