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Victims of Tamil Tiger attacks sue US hedge fund boss

About 30 victims of attacks by Sri Lanka's rebel Tamil Tigers filed a suit Thursday against the billionaire head of a US hedge fund facing insider trading charges, their lawyer said.

world Updated: Oct 22, 2009 23:17 IST

About 30 victims of attacks by Sri Lanka's rebel Tamil Tigers filed a suit Thursday against the billionaire head of a US hedge fund facing insider trading charges, their lawyer said.

The suit alleges that Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, and a family foundation led by his father gave more than five million dollars to a charity that Washington subsequently declared to be a front for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The LTTE, popularly called the Tamil Tigers, fought a brutal separatist war against the government of Sri Lanka from 1976 until it was defeated last May.

"We are seeking justice for the victims of LTTE terrorism, accountability for those whose money paid for the injuries and murder of our clients and their loved ones, and a strong deterrent against anyone who seeks to support terrorists of any stripe," said Michael Elsner, lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement sent to AFP.

"The defendants, we allege, have the plaintiffs' blood on their hands because those who paid for murder are just as culpable as those who committed the acts," Elsner said.

Among those who filed the 67-page complaint in the US District Court in New Jersey was the widow of Kuruppu Appuhamylage Karunaratna, a Sri Lankan Olympic athlete killed in an alleged LTTE suicide bombing during a marathon in which he was running on April 6, 2008.

Billionaire Rajaratnam, 52, was among six people arrested Friday in what the US authorities said was the largest-ever hedge-fund insider-trading case. He was accused of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Rajaratnam's New York-based Galleon fund firm manages 3.7 billion dollars in investments.

His lawyer James Walden could not be immediately contacted for comment.

But Walden had said his client was innocent of the insider-trading charges and will defend them and also rejected any links between Rajaratnam and the Tamil Tigers, according to newspaper reports.

Walden had said that any charitable donations his client made were "to rebuild homes destroyed by the tsunami" which devastated Sri Lanka and other countries in 2004, the reports said.