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Jaliya Wickramasuriya is a Sri Lankan businessmen. A close relative of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he was the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2014. He has been accused of financial crimes during his tenure.

Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Born
NationalitySri Lankan
EducationNalanda College Colombo
OccupationDiplomat
Known forSri Lankan Ambassador to
United States and Mexico
RelativesMahinda Rajapaksa
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Prasanna Wickramasuriya
Udayanga Weeratunga
Basil Rajapaksa
Chamal Rajapaksa

Contents

Family and educationEdit

Wickramasuirya was born in Matara, he is a son of Kamala Wickramasuriya née Rajapaksa, daughter of D. M. Rajapaksa and a first cousin of Mahinda Rajapaksa who served as President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015. Colonel Prasanna Wickramasuriya is his younger brother and brother-in-law of Colonel A. F. Lafir. He was educated at Nalanda College, Colombo.

Business careerEdit

He started his career in the tea industry, working at Dilmah. He went on to become the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ceylon Royal Teas (Pvt) Ltd and was based in the United States exporting tea from Sri Lanka to the United States.[1][2][3][4]

Diplomatic postingEdit

Following his cousin's election as President of Sri Lanka, Wickramasuirya was appointed Consul General of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in Los Angeles, California in 2005 and held the appointment till 2008.[5][6][7] In August 2008, he was appointed by President Rajapaksa as Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United States and Mexico. During his tenure, he was investigated by the IRS on tax evasion and the US government requested the government of Sri Lanka recall Wickramasuirya. As a result, Wickramasuirya was recalled to Sri Lanka in July 2014 and was replaced by Asela Weerakoon on a temporarily basis until Prasad Kariyawasam was appointed as the permanent ambassador.[8]

Misuse of state fundsEdit

The Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) arrested him on 17 November 2016 after he tried to flee the country from Katunayake Airport, and was a suspect of allegedly accepting a USD $332,000 commission while serving as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States.[9] He was remanded by the courts on the same day. It is alleged that the money was used to purchase a house in the United States for his daughter, Sarindee. [10][11]

An open warrant was issued in January 2018 in Colombo for his arrest in connection with those charges.[12][13] He was allowed by Courts to travel for medical treatments, but later it was reported that he was missing and court issued an open warrant.[14]

Money launderingEdit

The United States Department of Justice has moved to indict Wickremesuriya on money laundering charges, following an investigation by the FBI and indictment by grand jury. The Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has waived the diplomatic immunity granted Wickramasuriya during his tenure as the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington. Wickremesuriya challenged the removal of immunity by way of a writ petition in Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka, which was dismissed by court on 29 March 2018. Following which he had filed a fundamental rights case in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on the same.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Island - Business". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Financial Times". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  3. ^ Today, Business. "BUSINESS TODAY -The new Voice of Sri Lanka in Washington DC". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  4. ^ "News Features". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  5. ^ "AMBASSADOR JALIYA WICKRAMASURIYA ASSUMES DUTIES IN WASHINGTON DC - Embassy of Sri Lanka – Washington DC USA". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  6. ^ "The Island - Business". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  7. ^ "SRI LANKA'S AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. HOSTS OFFICIAL RECEPTION TO CELEBRATE THE 2010 SINHALA-TAMIL NEW YEAR - Embassy of Sri Lanka – Washington DC USA". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Twists and turns in the Jaliya Wickramasuriya case". www.dailymirror.lk.
  9. ^ http://www.adaderana.lk/news/37892/jaliya-wickramasuriya-arrested-by-fcid
  10. ^ "Jaliya Wickramasuriya re-remanded". www.dailymirror.lk.
  11. ^ "Jaliya Wickramasuriya is corrupt, says Canada".
  12. ^ Lakmal Sooriyagoda (5 January 2018). "Court issues open warrant against Jaliya Wickramasuriya". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  13. ^ asiantribune.com (6 January 2018). "Open warrant issued to arrest former US ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Court issues open warrant to arrest Jaliya".
  15. ^ "US to indict Lanka's former ambassador".

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit