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“Like the current situation in Sri Lanka, the country is facing bankruptcy and financial collapse due to the family that controls the nation” – US Congressman

US Congressman Steven Horsford has expressed his intention to open a congressional investigation into the theft of “foreign assets” by US citizens serving in the Sri Lankan administration.

Horsford said he would be consulting with US Congressman Gregory Meeks, who heads the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee and is also a senior member of the Congressional Financial Services Committee, to launch the investigation.

Horsford is a member of the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees which have jurisdiction to investigate money laundering and asset theft. The same goes for Congressman Meeks, a senior member of the House Finance Committee. The committee he heads, Foreign Affairs, has direct jurisdiction over Sri Lanka.

He said at the fundraising event in Nevada: “Like the current situation in Sri Lanka, the country is facing bankruptcy and financial collapse due to the family that controls the nation. I assure you that the leadership of the United States is aware of this. I am in contact with President Gregory Meeks on this matter. I am confident that I can work with the United States Congress to expose those responsible for the theft of Sri Lankan resources.”

Congressman Steven Horsford made the above statement because the United States has statutory provisions in federal statutes to initiate such money laundering investigations.

Earlier this month, a former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States and Mexico was found guilty of attempting to embezzle US$332,027 during the Sri Lankan government’s purchase of a new building in embassy in Washington DC.

Read more: Birds of a feather? Sri Lanka’s former ambassador to the US guilty of defrauding the government

The United States has the legal jurisdiction to investigate such activities of United States citizens engaged in foreign countries. There are certain circumstances in which the United States may apply domestic law abroad. The United States may give extraterritorial effect to its laws in cases involving (1) U.S. citizens abroad (2) foreign citizens employed by U.S. corporations abroad (3) violation of certain laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In the case of foreign jurisdiction assertion, the United States may assert jurisdiction over the conduct of US citizens abroad and the conduct of others against US citizens abroad.

The United States may assert jurisdiction overseas if necessary for its security or governmental functions.

The United States can assert jurisdiction over anyone who commits a heinous crime, regardless of the location of the crime or the nationality of the perpetrator or victim.

When Congressmen Horsford and Gregory Meeks and other U.S. federal officials meet to deliberate the theft of Sri Lankan assets and whether such acts interfere with the functioning of U.S. government functions, the above federal laws will be discussed.

Read more on The Island.