The Money Trail

Only weeks after the demise of Osama Bin Laden, Raj Rajaratnam, another fat cat in the world of finance and international terrorism, goes down with a huge thud–guilty on all 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. While the case against the Sri Lankan Tamil Rajaratnam focussed on the illegal activities of his hedge fund Galleon, no recent mention has been made of his links to and funding of the LTTE, a terrorist group which has been the scourge of Sri Lanka these past 30 years. In an era in which Wall Street greed has nearly collapsed the whole financial system which supports capitalism, Rajaratnam has clearly been made an example of, on the one hand. After all, the white collar crime of insider trading, is more rampant than most people would like to acknowledge, and recent abuses to the system have demanded a fall guy. Sri Lankans and South Asians in general, who represent a minority on Wall Street, have been watching this case with interest, but with an eye towards another issue altogether–that of the money trail. Sure, Rajaratnam made stacks of money–and fast–but the fact that some of those funds were allegedly used to fund the most notorious terrorist group on the planet seems to be an issue that has been buried in the back pages. For even though the LTTE has been rooted out of Sri Lanka itself, their supporters appear to be stronger than ever outside the country, lobbying and agitating for western governments  and the UN to make sanctions against the Sri Lankan government for alleged “war crimes.” Money men like Rajaratnam, a prominent member of the Tamil Diaspora,  are their life blood. But just as the death of Bin Laden does not spell the end of Al-Qaida, Rajaratnam’s conviction will not cause the Tigers to give up their fight. Until we start following the money trail of people like Rajaratnam’s ill gotten gains, international terrorism will survive and thrive.

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