Sri Lankan Terrorism Victims Charge Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager, Rajaratnam, With Financing Tamil

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23rd October 2009, 10:10am - Views: 1223

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Sri Lankan Terrorism Victims Charge Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager, Rajaratnam, With

Financing Tamil Tigers

NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

       Indicted Billionaire and Family Trust Knowingly Supported Terrorist

                       Activity, Civil Complaint Alleges

    Indicted Wall Street hedge fund manager Rajakumara Rajaratnam and his

father, J. M. Rajaratnam, knowingly provided financial and other support to

the Tamil Tigers, more than 30 victims and survivors of the terrorist group's

attacks alleged today.

    In a complaint filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of

New Jersey, family members of those killed and survivors of bombings

committed by the group formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam

(LTTE), alleged that Rajaratnam and the family foundation headed by his

father provided millions of dollars in funds used for terrorist attacks.

    The seven-count complaint, the result of a year-long investigation, was

filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 which grants non U.S. citizens

access to the U.S. Courts to seek justice for violations of "the law of

nations," such as crimes against humanity and terrorism, no matter where they


    "I will do anything to stop the LTTE menace and its suicide bombings,"

said Diyawadanage Subashini Sagarika Priyadarshani, widow of Kuruppu

Appuhamylage Karunaratna, an Olympic athlete and champion marathon runner who

was killed when an LTTE suicide bomber attacked the marathon in which he was

running on April 6, 2008 in Weliweriya, Sri Lanka.

    "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 counsel for the plaintiffs, Michael Elsner of

Motley Rice LLC.

    "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. "We have what we believe is incontrovertible evidence

that the money of Mr. Rajaratnam and his father made its way to the LTTE as

intended, that they knew the LTTE was engaged in a massive campaign of

terrorism, and that they supported the LTTE's goals and tactics."

    "Everything is lost now," said Hathwellge Dona Siryani. Her daughter,

Shanika Oshadi Peillassage, was killed along with her boyfriend, Anjana

Thanuska Habaraduwa Hewage, in the November 28, 2007 bombing of a crowded "No

Limit" clothing store at Nugegoda junction in a suburb of Colombo. The

victims were months away from their planned wedding.

    "Our loss cannot be replaced," said Karunamunige Krishanthi. Her husband,

Hettige Priyantha Perera Jayatunga, was killed, and she and her daughter were

injured in the "No Limit" bombing. She was hospitalized for nearly two months

and did not learn about her husband's death until her release. Her daughter,

now age six, was in the hospital for three weeks. Both continue to suffer

pain from their injuries and the family was forced to move when they were

unable to pay the rent following Jayatunga's death.

    "Today when we get up in the morning, we feel that it would be better to

have died than to live," said Wijayan Rajaratnam, father of Rajaratnum

Radeeswaran, who was killed February 3, 2008 when an LTTE suicide bomber

attacked the Fort Railway train station in Colombo. His son was captain of

his baseball team and a Tamil, the same ethnic group as the LTTE, whose

terrorist acts did not discriminate between the targeted Sinhalese and the


    From 2004 through 2009, LTTE conducted hundreds of attacks, including

several suicide bombings and political assassination attempts. According to

the FBI, LTTE is responsible for the murders of over 4,000 people since 2006.

The terrorist organization was the first to use suicide attacks on a

widespread basis, a tactic subsequently adopted by al Qaeda and Hamas, among

others. Most of LTTE's funding and weapons procurement came from a network of

international front charities and non-governmental organizations controlled

by LTTE.

    The complaint documents the transfer of millions of dollars from

Rajaratnam and his family's foundation to the Tamil Rehabilitation

Organization (TRO), which was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in

2007 as a "charitable organization that acts as a front to facilitate

fundraising and procurement for the LTTE." The TRO's assets were immediately


    According to the complaint, Rajaratnam gave $1 million to the TRO's U.S.

branch in 2004 in response to LTTE's calls for renewed funding in

anticipation of the "final war." This money was funneled from TRO-US accounts

to TRO headquarters in Sri Lanka. Rajaratnam had previously made a $1 million

contribution to TRO following the LTTE's successful "Elephant Pass" guerrilla

campaign. These donations "demonstrate Rajaratnam's contributions were given

with the intent of supporting specific LTTE attacks and operations," the

complaint charges.

    The complaint also documents donations from the Rajaratnam Family

Foundation to the TRO totaling well over $5 million from 2001 to 2007.

    As further evidence that Rajaratnam clearly supported LTTE's campaign of

terrorism, the complaint cites allegations that letters introducing

Rajaratnam were provided to LTTE founder and leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran

between December 2002 and June 2003. The letters of introduction to

Prabhakaran, who was killed in 2009, were arranged by Karunakaran Kandasamy

(Karuna), a TRO fundraiser and an LTTE operative who pled guilty in U.S.

courts to criminal charges of materially supporting LTTE in June 2009. In

letters to senior LTTE leaders in Sri Lanka, Karuna described Rajaratnam as a

wealthy Tamil supporter in the United States who was "among the people who

provide financial support for our struggle for freedom" and as someone who

"has been working actively on the forefront."

    In November 2002, Rajaratnam, speaking at a fundraiser for the

Association of Tamils of Sri Lankan USA (ITSA), called those supporting the

Tamils' struggle in Sri Lanka "terrorists," later adding that they were not

just terrorists but also "freedom fighters."

    In addition, Rajaratnam's father wrote on ITSA's website that

"Historically, freedom movements have been labeled as terrorist organizations

by the oppressors . . . 'Terrorists' have in their lifetime become 'His

excellencies.'" He added, "LTTE has not engaged in any killing that is not

justifiable in the context of war."

    The counts brought by the lawsuit are: aiding and abetting terrorist acts

universally condemned as violations of the law of nations; aiding and

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abetting, intentionally facilitating, and/or recklessly disregarding crimes

against humanity in violation of international law; reckless disregard;

wrongful death; survival; negligence; and negligent and/or intentional

infliction of emotional distress.

    Motley Rice attorneys pioneered anti-terrorism-financing litigation with

landmark lawsuits brought on behalf of the victims of 9/11, anti-Israeli

suicide bombings, IRA bombings and other terrorist attacks. To learn more

contact attorney Michael Elsner (NY, SC, VA) or visit

Motley Rice has co-counseled with Lite DePalma Greenberg & Rivas, LLC, of

Newark, New Jersey on this case. The law firm of Lite DePalma Greenberg &

Rivas, LLC has earned a national reputation for litigation of complex civil

and criminal matters. They have extensive litigation experience in state and

federal trial and appellate courts. For more information visit:

    The case is known as Krishanthi et al. v. Rajaratnam et al.

    Victims of LTTE terrorist attacks from 2002 through 2009, who wish to

learn more about this lawsuit and their ability to participate, are

encouraged to contact:

    The Association for the Victims of LTTE Terrorism

    c/o Manel Mal Movement

    No.18, Rodney Place

    Borella Colombo 8



SOURCE: Motley Rice, LLC

    CONTACT: Alicia G. Ward, 

             Director of Marketing and Communications,

             +1-843-216-9548 -phone, 

             or +1-843-532-7011 -mobile, 


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