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FBI nets Indian in LTTE bribe row

One of the 13 North American Tamils held in an FBI sting operation is of Indian origin.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2006 19:21 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

One OF the 13 North American Tamils held in an FBI sting operation is of Indian origin.

Nachimuthu Socrates, a Connecticut-based businessman, and his accomplices had been arrested for trying to buy sophisticated arms for the LTTE and for trying to bribe purported State Department officials into lifting the ban on the outfit.

During the sting operation, which began in 2004 and continued for several months, LTTE supporter Murugesu Vinayagamurthy, Socrates and others met who they thought were State Department, but were actually detectives. They discussed the bribe, including an US $1 million up-front payment. Socrates made the interim bribery payments.

The LTTE agents wanted to buy a confidential document on US investigations into the outfit and the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), a charitable organisation which is a front of the LTTE.

The FBI created a document and allowed Socrates to see it. Socrates, in turn, passed the information on to Vinayagamoorthy, US Newswire said in a report. Vinayagamoorthy told his "contacts" that he had come as the special representative of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who would ultimately decide how much would be paid for the services rendered.

Reacting to Socrates's arrest, his son Aristotle said, "It's just absurd. Basically, they spent a lot of time, but didn't get anywhere. They're going to ruin some guy's life to justify their existence."

Aristotle said Socrates was born in India and came to the US in 1976. He held a Masters in engineering from Colombia University and had been running a small firm.

First Published: Aug 24, 2006 02:43 IST