French Tiger funds frozen, activists arrested
The French Police have identified more suspects in their crackdown on LTTE activities in Paris while some eight bank accounts believed to be maintained by prominent LTTE operatives have been frozen.
A French Police Counter Terrorism Unit spokesperson Edmond Vilford who spoke to The Sunday Times from Paris said more suspects have been identified and investigations are proceeding.
|From left:Parithy alias Regan, Sinna Jeyam and Metha
“We hope to get the assistance of Interpol to arrest some of the suspects who have left France. We have hit them hard by freezing their accounts,” he said.
The crackdown on them widened this week with Interpol assisting the authorities to crack down on those operatives who had fled the country to other European destinations which have a strong Tiger influence.
The eight accounts are reported to be holding millions of euros, but the actual amount is yet to be disclosed by the investigators, the French authorities speaking on condition of anonymity told The Sunday Times.
An official of the Lyon-based Interpol told The Sunday Times substantial evidence had been gathered of four Sri Lankan Tamils who had been laundering money and had been involved in several activities relating to financing the LTTE and who are said to have fled to Switzerland.
“We have gathered intelligence on these four operatives who are the key players in laundering money and who are now hiding in Switzerland. We are also hunting for a few other operatives who are reported to be hiding in Denmark and Norway. Amongst the charges some of these operatives face are credit card fraud,” the Interpol official who spoke on grounds of anonymity told The Sunday Times from his base in Leon. The latest manhunt for these terror suspects by Interpol comes in the wake of the Sous-Directorate Anti-Terroriste (SDAT), the special anti-terrorist directorate of the French Interior Ministry arresting five suspects in a raid carried out at an LTTE office in Paris during the wee hours of September 22.
In the raid the SDAT recovered manuals on weapons, CDs of LTTE suicide bombing operations, cheques, 40,000 euros and 14 credit cards which are now known to have been stolen.
The SDAT which is continuing its hunt for certain Tiger operatives who own the millions of euros which are now frozen, believe they may have left the country immediately after the recent arrest of the five LTTE operatives in Paris.
Amongst the five arrested are the newly appointed LTTE Paris branch head Stalin Saverimuttu alias Ranjan and his second in command Shanthan.
The five operatives where arrested on the grounds of abduction, extortion, money laundering and being involved in acts that aid terrorism.
These five were reported to have been organizing a ceremony which was held last Sunday in Paris, to promote the suicide culture of the Tigers by paying homage to some of their suicide bombers such as Thileepan, Kumarappa, Pulenthiran, and Colonel Sankar On Friday September 28 the SDAT had carried out raids in identified LTTE neighbourhoods in Paris and had taken in eight people for questioning. The raid was carried out at an area in Paris known as ‘Gare du Nord’, also known as ‘Little Jaffna.’
However, all of them who are from the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka were questioned and released.
Previously on April 1, 18 members of the LTTE were arrested by the SDAT and 14 of them including chief of the Tigers in France, Parithi alias Nadarajah Mathienthiran and Metha who was in charge of propaganda activities. The 14 persons were produced in a court in Paris on April 5. They have not been released from custody as Police have not completed their investigations.
The offices of the Tamil Coordinating Committee, Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), Tamil Television Network and the Mariamman Temple and the Makkal Kadai (People's Shop) run by the LTTE in Paris were also raided by SDAT.
After the arrest of the Tiger leaders in April, the activities of the Tigers in France were conducted on a very subdued note.