Victims of Sri Lanka violence sue Rajaratnam

October 23rd, 2009 - 1:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Oct 23 (IANS) Victims of the Tamil Tiger militant attacks in Sri Lanka have sued billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, charged in a $25 million insider trading case, for allegedly helping finance the separatist rebels.
A federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Newark, New Jersey alleged that Rajaratnam, 52, knowingly provided support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)to advance a terror campaign.

Rajaratnam, portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a $3.7 billion hedge fund, was among six executives and fund managers, including two Indian Americans, charged in Manhattan last week with conspiring to trade securities ahead of companies’ public announcements and collecting more than $25 million in illicit profits.

Said to be the world’s richest Sri Lankan, Rajaratnam is free on $100 million bail.

His lawyer, Jim Walden, said in a statement that the plaintiffs’ allegations were “flatly untrue and libelous.”

“We are confident that the court will dismiss these baseless charges,” he said. “Mr. Rajaratnam has the greatest sympathy for all victims of violence in Sri Lanka and has a long history of helping Sri Lankans of all ethnic groups through substantial charitable donations over many years.”

Ranked No. 559 by Forbes magazine on a list of the world’s wealthiest people with a net worth of $1.3 billion, Rajaratnam has been a frequent contributor to charitable causes and Democratic candidates.

Even before his arrest, Rajaratnam was under scrutiny for his contributions to groups accused of funding Sri Lankan militants.

In a case in US District Court in Brooklyn, Rajaratnam has been described as working closely with a phoney charity that channelled funds to the Tamil Tiger organization.

Rajaratnam was born in Sri Lanka and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. In 1996, he started a group of technology and health care hedge funds at Galleon.

The Tamil Tigers have been listed as a terrorist group by the United States since 1997 and by the European Union since 2001.

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