Sri Lankaâ€™s ex-ambassador to Washington scores own goal
ECONOMYNEXT – While Sri Lanka’s former ambassador to Washington Jaliya Wickramasuriya is battling to reinstate his immunity to prevent his prosecution in the United States, he himself appeared to have waived it off four years ago, official sources said.
Wickramasuriya initially filed a case in the Court of Appeal against the Sri Lankan government for withdrawing his diplomatic immunity in October last year, but lost it and appealed to the Supreme Court.
Days after he lost the Court of Appeal case, US authorities filed an indictment against Wickramasuriya before a grand jury on May 1.
Whatever the outcome of his Supreme Court appeal, US authorities have found an immigration form he filled on March 25, 2014 waiving his “rights, privileges, exemptions and immunity.” He signed filled what is known as the I-508 form when he sought permanent residence in the US.
“The question of he has immunity or not is no longer relevant because he has already waived his rights at the time he sought adjustment of his visa status to permanent residency,” an official source said.
Wickramasuriya jumped bail in 2017 and fled to the United States to avoid prosecution by the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID). However, he may have delivered himself to the US authorities who had been tracking his illegal financial transactions for many years.
With the US authorities officially announcing details of the May 1 indictment on December 20, it is expected that Sri Lanka’s former ambassador Wickramasuriya will set a record to become the first head of a Sri Lankan mission to be prosecuted in the country to which he was posted.
(See related story: https://economynext.com/Sri_Lanka_coup_hastens_prosecution_of_Rajapaksa_envoy_to_Washington-3-12987-10.html )