Rajaratnam Sued Over Alleged Terrorist Ties

Oct 28 2009 | 3:59am ET

Insider trading was hardly the worst of Raj Rajaratnam’s crimes, according to a lawsuit filed against the indicted Galleon Group founder last week.

A group of victims of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam claim that Rajaratnam helped finance the group, which is classified by the U.S. government as a terrorist group. The Tamil Tigers fought a 33-year-long war to win independence for northern and eastern Sri Lanka before being defeated earlier this year.

In a lawsuit filed last week in Newark,N.J., federal court, the 30 victims allege that Rajaratnam, a Sri Lankan native, and his family charity knowingly offered support and financing to the Tigers. The suit also names the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, an allegedly phony charity to which Rajaratnam donated some $5 million. TRO’s offices were raided by U.S. authorities and its assets frozen in 2006 after it was found to be financing the terrorist group.

Rajaratnam’s links to TRO and the Tamil Tigers emerged during a probe into the latter’s fundraising in the U.S. The hedge fund chieftan was not accused of any wrongdoing in that case, which netted eight guilty pleas. Rajaratnam claims he did not know that TRO was sending money to the Tamil Tigers, and that his donations were to assist in rebuilding efforts after the 2004 tsunami.

“The accusation that Mr. Rajaratnam supported the LTTE is flatly untrue and libeolous, and we are confident that the court will dismiss these baseless charges,” the Galleon founder’s lawyer, Jim Walden, said in a statement. “Mr. Rajaratnam has the greatest sympathy for all victims of violence in Sri Lanka and has a long history of helping Sri Lankans of all ethnic groups through substantial charitable donations over many years.”

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses Rajaratnam, his foundation and the TRO of “aiding and abetting, intentionally facilitating and/or disregarding crimes against humanity in violation of international law.”

Rajaratnam’s links to the Tamil Tigers are also still being investigated in Sri Lanka. That country’s central bank retracted a statement made last week that the hedge fund manager had been cleared, and said that it was continuing its probe, and was also looking into the role Galleon, which is in the process of shuttering its hedge funds, may have played.

“The TRO investigations are continuing,” Ajith Nivad Cabral, the central bank’s governor, told Reuters. “It’s not clear yet. The involvement of the Galleon fund with funding the TRO is also being probed.”

Rajaratnam has been monitored by his home country’s defense ministry for several years. A spokesman for the ministry said he had been “involved in several schemes funding the LTTE.”


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