Fugitive from justice Udayanga hobnobs at Gota’s Dubai campaign event | Sunday Observer

Fugitive from justice Udayanga hobnobs at Gota’s Dubai campaign event

Despite an INTERPOL red notice being out for his arrest, former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga was captured on video attending a Gotabaya Rajapaksa campaign event in Dubai last Friday (2).

The event, themed Eliya-Dubai took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel and featured about 33 participants, according to details on its Facebook event page. A video currently circulating on social media shows a breezy Weeratunga, wearing a Burberry shirt and engaging in light conversation with participants and mingling sociably before leaving the event.

‘Eliya’ is a civil society organization promoting the former defence secretary’s candidature at 2019 presidential election.

The Fort Magistrate, back in October 2016, sought to issue a red notice through Interpol for his arrest.

He is wanted in connection with money laundering and misappropriation charges over his involvement in the fraudulent 2006 purchase of four MiG 27 aircraft for the Sri Lanka Air Force. In 2015, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa obtained an order preventing his arrest in the MiG investigation from the Supreme Court.

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Despite local and international warrants Weeratunga is seen travelling the world. He was initially in Russia but later managed to fly to Dubai without any hindrance. He is currently awaiting an appeal judgment on an extradition trial in the UAE courts.

The Government of Sri Lanka has all but given up on the case, with no Government officials or lawyers present when the case last came up in the Abu Dhabi courts.

Weeratunga, who is the first cousin of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa once met the former president in Thailand while still being a fugitive.

Investigations carried out into the MiG deal by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) found large sums of monies being deposited to Weeratunga’s accounts from foreign accounts.