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Tamil Tigers deny link with US arms agents

A US embassy press release and reports from NY had said that 13 persons from Canada were held by the FBI, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 12:31 IST

The LTTE on Tuesday denied that it has any links with a group of Tamils who were arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for trying to buy arms for it, in defiance of the ban on the organisation in the United States.

"We have no connection with the people arrested and this is not our way of operating," Rasaiah Ilanthirayan, the LTTE's Military Spokesman told Hindustan Times over the phone from Kilinochchi.

Denying that the LTTE had tried to bribe officials to secure its ends, Ilanthirayan said: "We have never done like this before."

A US embassy press release and reports from New York had earlier said that 13 persons from Canada were arrested by the FBI for trying to purchase Russian-made SA-18 surface to surface missiles, missile launchers, AK-47s and other weapons used by the LTTE.

They were charged with providing material support to the LTTE that included the procurement of military equipment and dual use technology, fund raising and money laundering through "front" charitable organisations and US bank accounts.

They had attempted to obtain classified information, conspired to bribe US public officials in an effort to remove the LTTE from the US State Departments' list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations, and dealt in illegal financial transactions in the US.

The US embassy release said that the Canadian and British authorities had provided inputs for the charges made against the arrested persons.

The matter is currently before the US District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

First Published: Aug 23, 2006 12:31 IST