The ex-ambassador to the USA Jaliya Wickramasooriya, first cousin of the Rajapaksa’s has been sentenced to two years of probation and a $5,000 fine.
He pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of Sri Lanka of $332,000 in a business deal in 2013.
The new embassy building $6.2 million. Wickramasooriya manipulated the deal and boosted it to $6.5 million.
He attempted to draw large checks to totally irrelevant entities that were not related to the transition of buying a new building for the Sri Lankan Embassy on Wyoming Avenue in Kalorama. Washington.
As the fraud was detected agents from Homeland Security Investigations traveled to Sri Lanka and worked with FCID and were arrested in Colombo and produced in courts. While the case was proceeding in Sri Lanka he managed to use his green card to return to the United States claiming that he needed, medical treatment after a heart attack.
The American prosecutors convinced the then Ranil- Maithree good governance alliance and proceeding in the USA began and later when Gothabaya Rajapaksha came into power the foreign ministry pointed out to the US state department that as Jaliya Wickramasooriya
held diplomatic immunity he could not be prosecuted.
However, the argument to safeguard him did not work out and the prosecution continued. The State Department maintained that once you’ve given up diplomatic immunity, you can’t just get it back.
Wickramasuriya pleaded guilty and also paid back the money he had pocketed.
Judge Tanya S. Chutkan handed down Wickramasuriya’s punishment with some strong words.
She said “Even though this was not millions of dollars, it represents a serious theft from the people, and by a person that they entrusted to represent their interests in the capital of the most powerful country in the world,” Chutkan said. “What you have done is a serious betrayal.”
Jaliya Wickramasooriya said sorry in a shivering voice.