Raj Rajaratnam, the Sri Lankan-origin businessman arrested for alleged hedge-fund fraud in the US, was one of the largest contributors of money to the separatist LTTE, a top Tamil Tiger leader in government custody has revealed.
Kumaran Pathamanathan, known as KP and appointed LTTE chief after Prabhakaran was killed and the Tigers defeated in May, has said that Rajaratnam gave money lavishly to the LTTE and its sympathisers in the west.
"KP has revealed that Raj Rajaratnam who was nabbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) after listening to him by wire taps for criminal insider trading scams has given money lavishly for the terrorist group and its Western sympathiser individuals," the defence ministry quoted KP as saying.
KP, who was LTTE’s international relations chief and arms procurer, was arrested from a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in August weeks after his appointment as the organisation’s chief.
The ministry quoted "sources close to the government" as saying that KP's revelations about Rajaratnam's contributions to the LTTE tally with some findings of United States investigations.
The ministry claimed that KP's evidence of the LTTE receiving money from Rajaratnam had been collaborated by two letters now in the hands of the US intelligence.
KP, according to the ministry, also revealed the businessman’s links to a top opposition politician.
These disclosures by KP, as claimed by the defence ministry, would be crucial as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has said that the government would not seize Rajaratnam’s local investment portfolio and assets till he is proven guilty of financing terrorism.
Ajith N Cabral, central bank governor, told Daily Mirror that investigations were on into the investment portfolio of Rajaratnam. He added that Rajaratnam’s total asset portfolio here was around Rs 12 billion. ``It was estimated that that out of total monies received by the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), one third of the funding was provided by Rajaratnam,’’ CBSL said.
Rajaratnam’s is among the largest shareholders in some of Sri Lanka’s biggest companies including John Keells Holdings and the National Development Bank. The banking sector here is worried with the arrest and so are some government ministries, which were expecting him to channel investment into a post-conflict Sri Lanka.