INTERPOL rejects Udayanga’s application to quash red notice | Sunday Observer

INTERPOL rejects Udayanga’s application to quash red notice

24 February, 2019

INTERPOL has rejected a request by Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga to have the red notice against him vacated, Sunday Observer learns.

Weeratunga applied to INTERPOL last year, appealing to the international policing agency to remove the red notice against him on the basis that investigations against him conducted by the Sri Lankan authorities were politically motivated.

The former Ambassador is a fugitive from justice in Sri Lanka and is wanted in connection with the misappropriation of state funds in the 2006 MiG deal. He is awaiting a judgment on his extradition trial in the UAE Court of Appeal, which is listed to be heard on March 18, 2019.

In his complaint, Weeratunga told INTERPOL that “The FCID has confined its investigations and actions against the political opponents of the present government to humiliate and embarrass through the media, members of the former government and the current government has periodically arrested and rearrested several members of the former government”.

In his application, Weeratunga told INTERPOL that investigations by the FCID, were approved to be carried out by the present Prime Minister of Sri Lanka through a Secretariat established for that purpose, and the Minister of Law and Order and the Inspector General of Police of Sri Lanka have no role or part to play in the functioning of the FCID. INTERPOL authorities considered Weeratunge’s application in November last year, during the political crisis in Sri Lanka, when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa held office as Prime Minister for some 50 days.

In February 2018, INTERPOL issued a red warrant on the former Sri Lankan Envoy to Russia, naming him in its global watchlist as a fugitive wanted by the Sri Lankan authorities.

He is one of two former Sri Lankan ambassadors who are fugitives from justice. The other, former Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya, was recently indicted in the United States for money laundering and wire fraud. Both former ambassadors are first cousins of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.