Thirteen financiers, mainly from Switzerland, Germany and Sri Lanka, accused of funnelling more than $15.3 million to the separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) will stand trial before a Swiss Federal Criminal Court on Monday.
The Swiss funds were transported in cash by couriers to Singapore and Dubai, eventually reaching the LTTE in Sri Lanka who allegedly used the money for weapons purchase.
The report, which appeared in Swissinfo said some are former members of the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), which represented the LTTE in Switzerland until 2009, and include its founder, his deputy and the person in charge of finances.
Between 1999 and 2009, they allegedly created a complex fundraising structure which involved coaxing members of the Tamil diaspora to obtain loans from banks.
To raise higher amounts, the WTCC was accused of creating fictitious companies in the name of borrowers that issued fake salary certificates.
The 13 on trial face charges of fraud, false documentation, money laundering and extortion but they will not face terror charges. The LTTE was never declared a terror organisation in Switzerland.
“The Attorney General strongly suspects the LTTE fraction under investigation of having collected the money in question by means of threats and by creating a regime of fear to induce them to make the payments,” says a court document.
This funding system collapsed in 2009 after the LTTE’s military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan armed forces.