Rajaratnam supported charity accused of Tamil Tigers ties

By Spencer S. Hsu
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Raj Rajaratnam has been a major backer of a Maryland-based charity that the U.S. government later blacklisted for allegedly financing the Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan terrorist group that was defeated by Sri Lanka's government this spring.

According to public tax filings, Rajaratnam listed himself as the chairman and director of Tsunami Relief, a nonprofit charity using the Galleon Group as its address. In 2005 and 2006, Rajaratnam reported that the charity gave $1 million to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, based in Cumberland, and $2.5 million to its Sri Lanka parent group.

The U.S. government in 2007 froze the assets of the U.S.-based branch and barred contributions to it, saying it financed terrorism. The Treasury Department called the group a front organization for the Tamil Tigers (formally, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).

Separately, several defendants have entered guilty pleas in a Justice Department investigation into fundraising for the Tigers. Rajaratnam was not charged in the case. Bob Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment about accounts published in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that according to court documents, Rajaratnam was "Individual B," an unnamed American businessman whom an FBI agent swore in April 2007 gave a total of $2 million in 2000 and 2004 to the Maryland group.

Rajaratnam has not been accused of wrongdoing in that case. His attorney, James Walden of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said, "Mr. Rajaratnam is not an LTTE supporter," referring to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and that his contributions went to pay for rebuilding homes destroyed by the December 2004 tsunami.

Staff researcher Julie Tate

contributed to this report.


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