Feb 23, Colombo: INTERPOL had issued a Red Notice on former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga as a wanted person by the Sri Lankan authorities, Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said.
The Police Headquarters said that the former envoy has intervened in the controversial MIG aircraft deal and therefore he should abide by the country's law.
A complaint has been lodged with the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) on 10 March 2015, accusing him of having committed financial fraud in the purchase of six MiG aircraft in 2006.
Accordingly, Weeratunga was ordered to report to the FCID to record a statement and when the former envoy, who has been residing in Ukraine, was absconding, the court on 20 October 2016 allowed the FCID to issue an open international warrant through the Interpol to arrest him in connection with the investigation. Accordingly, Interpol first issued a blue notice and later a red notice, the police spokesman said.
The FCID investigations have found that large amounts of money from foreign countries had been deposited suspiciously in several of Udayanga Weeratunga's bank accounts and the court ordered freezing 16 such bank accounts worth US $ 1.7 million.
Police spokesman SP Gunasekara said the FCID investigations found that Weeratunga's diplomatic service had ended on February 28, 2015 but he had not returned his diplomatic passport to the Foreign Ministry and instead he had obtained a normal passport from the Immigration and Emigration Controller and traveled to the UAE on 4 October 2016.
The spokesman further said that a FCID investigation team went to Ukraine but the fugitive diplomat was not there.
Police spokesman said that the claims made by Weeratunga that the FCID did not obtain a statement from him although he requested are totally false and he never asked for an opportunity to give a statement.
SP Gunasekara said Weeratunga is a Sri Lankan citizen and therefore he should abide by the country's law and he should prove his innocence in a court of law instead of attempting to prove his innocence using social media.