Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga had been reportedly detained at the Dubai Airport this morning, while in transit to the United States, sources said. He was to be handed over to the Dubai Police by the immigration officers.
Udayanga Weeratunga, Sri Lanka’s former envoy to Russia was accused of being the centre of a probe into the acquisition of MiG-27 fighter jets from Ukraine, while he was also accused of supplying weapons to anti-Government forces.
Interpol arrest warrant was taken in October 2016 following an FCID request made to the Colombo Fort Magistrate.
On January 04, 2017 Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered to suspend the transactions of 16 bank accounts with a balance of USD 1.5 million funds kept by Mr Weeratunga over the inquiry conducted into the huge financial loss caused to the Government in the purchase of Ukraine-built MIG-27 aircraft in 2006.
Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on January 19 directed Attanagalle and Colombo Land Registrars to prevent the sale of Udayanga Weeratunga’s properties found by the FCID, where Rs.40 million and a one-acre land worth of Rs.25 million in Dompe and a luxury apartment (Trillium Residencies) worth Rs.29 million in Borella.
On August 21, 2017, Weeratunga’s request to annul the arrest order was rejected by Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne.
However, Police sources told the Daily Mirror that although Mr Weeratunga was detained at the Dubai Airport it would take a considerable period to return him to country due to diplomatic and legal concerns.
During his visit to Thailand, ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa has met former ambassador in Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, who is accused of selling arms to Ukrainian insurgents……………
Rajapaksa ‘s visit took a startling turn in Udon Thani. On hand to meet him were not only Thai dignitaries from that province. There was also another visitor, a most wanted man in Sri Lanka, a man wanted for questioning over the MIG-27 procurement scandal. He is Rajapaksa’s first cousin Udayanga Weeratunga, one-time ambassador to the Russian Federation during the Rajapaksa administration. He was moving around freely and was not identified. He worshipped members of the clergy and mixed with the handful of Sri Lankans present. One of them, who has been boasting that he was a sponsor of the Rajapaksa visit, posted pictures in his Facebook page. It did not take time for Weeratunga to be identified. The news went viral.
How did Weeratunga enter Thailand? Authoritative official sources here told me there was no record at the Thai Immigration over his visit. Though the Department of Immigration in Colombo cancelled his Diplomatic Passport, it is known in Police circles in Colombo that he was still using it. Evidently, officials say the Sri Lanka Government’s communication of the cancellation had not reached many foreign Governments. However, according to the source, Thai Immigration had already placed him on its watch list. Hence, the possibility of Weeratunga arriving in Laos or Vietnam on a different passport, and entering Thailand illegally by crossing the Mekong River separating the two countries is not being ruled out. In the alternative, these source say, he could have even used the diplomatic passport…………………………
The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today granted approval to a request from police seeking to issue an arrest warrant for Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga.
Police requested the court to issue a warrant through Interpol for the ex-diplomat’s arrest as a statement was required from him in connection with the controversial USD 10 million deal to buy four MiG-27 fighter jets in 2006…………………
The ‘controversy’ surrounding Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga was revived again with the recent visit of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to Thailand. A photo uploaded on the web by Weeratunga of himself standing beside his relative Rajapaksa during this visit, has gone viral.
This episode led to renewed allegations from the yahapalana government – this time around the charge being that Weeratunga is ‘wanted’ in RUSSIA over arms smuggling, and for questioning over the death of Noel Ranaweera, a former employee of Sri Lanka’s mission in Moscow. There were calls to ‘probe’ the Weeratunga-Rajapaksa meeting in order to ascertain Weeratunga’s whereabouts and track him down……………………………..