Sunday Observer: FBI Monitored Raj Rajaratnam’s Alleged LTTE Funding

New evidence has surfaced that the Sri Lankan born billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam was monitored by the FBI for allegedly funding the LTTE in Sri Lanka, according to an exclusive expose in the latest edition of US-based Vanity Fair .

Earlier this year, Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, was convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud in one of the biggest insider-trading cases in the history of Wall Street. He is due to be sentenced on October 13.

Headlined “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Raj”, the Vanity Fair article reveals that Rajaratnam’s affinity to the LTTE was another reason why the US law enforcement wanted to investigate his dealings.

The story reveals how Rajaratnam urged diaspora members to support the LTTE at a gala event in 1992. Unknown to Rajaratnam, his audience that night included an FBI informant equipped with a concealed recording device.

The informant, identified only as Rudra in the article, would eventually make thousands of hours of clandestine recordings in the course of his 11-year undercover career, and the Department of Justice has used them as the basis of 20 successful criminal prosecutions.

Rudra said his memory of what Rajaratnam said at the gala is clear, and it is supported by his former FBI handlers, who heard the recordings when they were made.

“He got up and, flanked by LTTE flags, he said, ‘Everyone must support the Tigers’ cause,’” Rudra told Vanity Fair’s David Rose.

“He mentioned the fact that his wife was an Indian Sikh (a minority group from which some had also mounted a terrorist campaign aimed at creating a separate state).

Rajaratnam said, ‘They’re terrorists. We’re terrorists. We are all freedom fighters.’ Everyone laughed. Then he said, ‘They’re our terrorists, and you all must support this struggle.’”Rajaratnam apparently had given the ‘Tamil cause’ at least $1 million in recognition of the LTTE victory in 2000 over the Sri Lankan Army at the strategic Elephant Pass.

Tax and bank records confirm the scale of Rajaratnam’s support. In the course of 2003, he gave $5.05 million to his family foundation, which in turn passed on $5 million to the TRO.

In June 2004, the court filings state, he gave another $1 million directly to the TRO.

Meanwhile, an attorney from Charleston, South Carolina, Mike Elsner has filed a claim against Rajaratnam, his father, and the TRO, on behalf of Tiger victims. Rajaratnam’s lawyers have said that his client never knowingly and directly supported terrorism.

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