Ex-Sri Lankan envoy to US pleads guilty to defrauding government | Sri Lanka News

Former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States Jaliya Chitran Wickramasuriya pleaded guilty on Friday to seeking to embezzle more than $330,000 during the purchase of a new embassy building in Washington.

Jaliya Chitran Wickramasuriya, 61, entered a guilty plea in US District Court to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the Justice Department said, the AFP reported .

Wickramasuriya, who served as Sri Lanka's envoy to the United States and Mexico from 2008 to 2014, sought to defraud the Sri Lankan government by inflating the price during the purchase of a new embassy building in 2013, the department said in a statement.

According to court documents, Wickramasuriya inflated the purchase price of the real estate by $332,027 and then had those funds diverted to two companies which had no role in the transaction.

Wickramasuriya later had the funds redirected back to Sri Lankan government accounts.

Sentencing was set for July 20. Wickramasuriya faces up to five years in prison and financial penalties.

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