WikiLeaks: US On LTTE Fundraising Activities And Prabhakaran’s Monetary Board

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,News,STORIES,WikiLeaks |
 

By Colombo Telegraph -

“(SBU) Reftel provided background on LTTE fundraising and financial activities, as well as specific information about LTTE activities in particular countries. In the past few months, there has been an upsurge in media reporting on increased LTTE fundraising activities abroad – often via coercive practices – in order to finance a potential return to war. Over the past year, we have continued to receive information about the strong links between the TRO and the LTTE and the LTTE’s stepped-up fundraising efforts. Below are a few of the more interesting aspects of LTTE fundraising efforts we have garnered since our cable a year ago” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

prabhakaran

LTTE Leader Prabhakaran reportedly names the members of a seven member monetary board

The Colombo Telegraph found the related classified diplomatic cable  from WikiLeaks database, which details LTTE fundraising activities. The “Confidential” cable is classified by then ECONCHIEF US Embassy Colombo Dean R. Thompson on December 19, 2005.

Under the subheading ‘UK Efforts’ the Embassy wrote “In March, TRO UK was shut down by the British Charities Commission, due to irregularities with the manner in which TRO moves money (i.e. suitcases full of cash brought to Sri Lanka rather than more reputable methods). TRO UK ran afoul of charities regulations rather than terrorism statutes but nonetheless, the desired outcome was achieved from HMG’s perspective, according to the British Deputy High Commissioner. As expected, TRO UK morphed into a new organization with exactly the same board of directors.”

Under the subheading “Indian Information” the Embassy wrote ” the Indian High Commission has reported from contacts in eastern Sri Lanka that the TRO/USA website is very popular with the Tamil diaspora because it is a convenient medium to make donations via credit card. The same contacts (reported to include a former LTTE “money man”) said that of the massive amount of post-tsunami money raised by TRO around the world, none of it has been spent on tsunami recovery. Rather, it has all been banked in LTTE accounts for a “rainy day on the battlefield.” The extensive amount of “TRO” tsunami relief around the North and East has been bankrolled by wealthy individual diaspora Tamils who want to help and are perfectly willing to let the TRO take credit for and put their flag on the projects. According to the Indians, the message from these Tamil contacts was clear: TRO tsunami global fundraising is all going to the LTTE (Note: This Indian comment is a bit apocalyptic. The TRO does do legitimate relief work, althought almost all observers agree there is co-mingling of funds between the TRO and the LTTE. End Note).”

Under the subheading “LTTE Fundraising” The LTTE maintains a completely parallel administrative structure in areas under its control, thus requiring a fairly elaborate revenue scheme. All travelers into and out of the Vanni region (LTTE-held territory) are required to pass through LTTE “Customs” and are assesed a duty and provided a receipt. Duty scales are posted on the internet and can be found at www.nithiththurai.com (Note: a search of www.netcraft.com indicates that this site is based in the US – IP address is 72.36.155.218 and was established in February 2005. Nameserver is ns.hompagenames.net; DNS admin: hostmaster@nithiththurai.com; Reverse DNS: 218.155.36.72.reverse.layeredtech.com. Netblock owner is Layered Technologies, Inc. Post has collected several other Tiger-related websites and would appreciate information on where to send for possibel investigation (see para 10). End Note). As mentioned in reftel, taxes and patronage are collected by the LTTE in the Vanni and in Tamil-dominated Government-held areas as well.”

“(SBU) Also as mentioned in reftel, the LTTE maintains a “Bank of Tamil Eelam” (BOTE) and recent press reporting suggests that it has a deposit base of approximately USD 15 million. While the Vanni region operates with Sri Lankan rupees, the BOTE offers higher deposit rates and lower lending rates than its Sri Lankan counterparts. LTTE Leader Prabhakaran reportedly names the members of a seven member monetary board that oversee the bank and LTTE “monetary policy.” According to a recent press interview with 36-year old BOTE manager Mahalingam Veerathevan, a graduate of Jaffna University’s business administration program, the bank has “minimal” default rates (Note: Veerathevan attributes this to sound lending policies but a bank backed by the full faith and credit of the LTTE certainly has its own collection “incentives.” End Note) and has never been the target of a robbery attempt. BOTE has 12 branches, four of which have upgraded to computer systems. It has 10,000 depositors and 300 current account holder. Checks issued by BOTE are not accepted anywhere outside of the Vanni. However, the main BOTL branch in Kilinochchi is conveniently located directly between the branches of state-owned People’s Bank (PB) and Bank of Ceylon (BOC). Both are able to accept electronic funds transfers from expatriate Sri Lankans. It is therefore a simple process of receiving funds from abroad via the BOC or PB branches and simply walking them next door for deposit into a BOTE account.” they further wrote.

Related stories to this cable;

WikiLeaks: GoSL Had No Evidence Against Charles Gnanakone

WikiLeaks: ‘We Are Losing Credibility On Terrorism Financing Issues With The GSL’ – US Embassy Colombo

Read the cable below for further details;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 002112 

SIPDIS 

NEW DELHI FOR LEGATT; STATE FOR SA/INS MGOWER; MCC FOR
DNASSIRY AND EBURKE; TREASURY FOR SCHUN AND JROSS; ENERGY
FOR JMILLER 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2015
TAGS: PTER ECON EFIN KCRM CE LTTE ECONOMICS
SUBJECT: POST (AGAIN) RECOMMENDS INVESTIGATION INTO
POSSIBLE LTTE-LINKED ACTIVITIES IN THE US 

REF: 04 COLOMBO 2002 

Classified By: ECONCHIEF Dean R. Thompson, reasons 1.4 b, d and e 

¶1. (C) This is an action request, please see para 10.  This
is a follow-on to reftel, in which Post specifically
requested USG efforts to investigate possible LTTE-linked
fundraising in the US. 

¶2. (C) Summary: In the wake of reports of increased LTTE
fundraising activities in Canada, France, UK and Australia,
local papers have been reporting increased law enforcement
activity, particularly in Australia, against such
fundraising.  The fundraising is sometimes via legal
entities, such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization
(TRO), which has 501(c)(3) status in the US, as well as
comparable status in other countries.  In the last twelve
months, we have received confirmation from the UK that they
have withdrawn charity status for the TRO (though it was
reconstituted under a different name) and that Australia has
actively sought to interdict illegal fundraising activities.
The Bank of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE's banking structure)
continues to expand in Tiger held areas and appears to
provide an effective mechanism through which the LTTE can
operate its financial activities.  Moreover, at least one
LTTE financial website appears to be based in the US.  As
Post first proposed a year ago (reftel), it is time for a
serious, coordinated interagency investigation of possible
LTTE fundraising in the US.  We are losing credibility on
this issue with the GSL.  End Summary 

¶3. (SBU) Reftel provided background on LTTE fundraising and
financial activities, as well as specific information about
LTTE activities in particular countries.  In the past few
months, there has been an upsurge in media reporting on
increased LTTE fundraising activities abroad - often via
coercive practices - in order to finance a potential return
to war. Over the past year, we have continued to receive
information about the strong links between the TRO and the
LTTE and the LTTE's stepped-up fundraising efforts.  Below
are a few of the more interesting aspects of LTTE fundraising
efforts we have garnered since our cable a year ago: 

UK Efforts
---------- 

¶4. (C) In March, TRO UK was shut down by the British
Charities Commission, due to irregularities with the manner
in which TRO moves money (i.e. suitcases full of cash brought
to Sri Lanka rather than more reputable methods).  TRO UK ran
afoul of charities regulations rather than terrorism statutes
but nonetheless, the desired outcome was achieved from HMG's
perspective, according to the British Deputy High
Commissioner.  As expected, TRO UK morphed into a new
organization with exactly the same board of directors. 

Indian Information
------------------ 

¶5. (C) The Indian High Commission has reported from contacts
in eastern Sri Lanka that the TRO/USA website is very popular
with the Tamil diaspora because it is a convenient medium to
make donations via credit card.  The same contacts (reported
to include a former LTTE "money man") said that of the
massive amount of post-tsunami money raised by TRO around the
world, none of it has been spent on tsunami recovery.
Rather, it has all been banked in LTTE accounts for a "rainy
day on the battlefield."  The extensive amount of "TRO"
tsunami relief around the North and East has been bankrolled 

SIPDIS
by wealthy individual diaspora Tamils who want to help and
are perfectly willing to let the TRO take credit for and put
their flag on the projects.  According to the Indians, the
message from these Tamil contacts was clear: TRO tsunami
global fundraising is all going to the LTTE (Note: This
Indian comment is a bit apocalyptic.  The TRO does do
legitimate relief work, althought almost all observers agree
there is co-mingling of funds between the TRO and the LTTE.
End Note). 

Australian Efforts
------------------ 

¶6. (C)  Recent press reports suggest the Australians are
taking a closer look at LTTE fundraising.  Matthew Hyndes,
the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, confirmed to
PolChief on December 2 that the police, based on information
provided by the Sri Lankan Directorate of Internal
Intelligence (DII), is conducting a total of three
investigations in Sydney and Melbourne of individuals
suspected of raising funds for the LTTE, but he stressed that
no arrests had been made.  Police confiscated some computer
equipment in the course of the raids, Hyndes said, and some
arrests could be made later depending upon what, if anything,
is found in the computer records.  He expressed skepticism
that any "smoking gun" would turn up in the computers
although there is little doubt, in Hyndes view, that the
individuals are linked to the LTTE.  He added that under new
procedures, pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs who
come in for visas will be closely grilled about their agendas
while in Australia and asked to sign a sworn statement that
they will not engage in any fundraising activities while
there. 

¶7. (C)  Hyndes added that the GSL has put increasing pressure
on the Australians to do something about LTTE fundraising in
Australia but has seldom provided adequate information on
which to base an investigation that would stand up in
Australian court.  He characterized most of the GSL-provided
leads as "speculation," and "guesswork" that is "not very
helpful."   He added that the GSL had no evidence against
Charles Gnanakone, the Australian citizen with links to the
LTTE who had been held for several months on suspicion of
involvement in former Foreign Minister Kadirgamar's August
assassination (recently released due to a lack of evidence).
 In general, Hyndes believes DII provides comparatively more
useful and reliable information than the Directorate of
Foreign Intelligence (DFI). 

LTTE Fundraising
---------------- 

¶8. (SBU) The LTTE maintains a completely parallel
administrative structure in areas under its control, thus
requiring a fairly elaborate revenue scheme.  All travelers
into and out of the Vanni region (LTTE-held territory) are
required to pass through LTTE "Customs" and are assesed a
duty and provided a receipt.  Duty scales are posted on the
internet and can be found at www.nithiththurai.com (Note: a
search of www.netcraft.com indicates that this site is based
in the US -  IP address is 72.36.155.218 and was established
in February 2005.  Nameserver is ns.hompagenames.net; DNS
admin: hostmaster@nithiththurai.com; Reverse DNS:
218.155.36.72.reverse.layeredtech.com.  Netblock owner is
Layered Technologies, Inc.  Post has collected several other
Tiger-related websites and would appreciate information on
where to send for possibel investigation (see para 10).  End
Note).  As mentioned in reftel, taxes and patronage are
collected by the LTTE in the Vanni and in Tamil-dominated
Government-held areas as well.
¶9. (SBU) Also as mentioned in reftel, the LTTE maintains a
"Bank of Tamil Eelam" (BOTE) and recent press reporting
suggests that it has a deposit base of approximately USD 15
million.  While the Vanni region operates with Sri Lankan
rupees, the BOTE offers higher deposit rates and lower
lending rates than its Sri Lankan counterparts.  LTTE Leader
Prabhakaran reportedly names the members of a seven member
monetary board that oversee the bank and LTTE "monetary
policy."  According to a recent press interview with 36-year
old BOTE manager Mahalingam Veerathevan, a graduate of Jaffna
University's business administration program, the bank has
"minimal" default rates (Note: Veerathevan attributes this to
sound lending policies but a bank backed by the full faith
and credit of the LTTE certainly has its own collection
"incentives." End Note) and has never been the target of a
robbery attempt.  BOTE has 12 branches, four of which have
upgraded to computer systems.  It has 10,000 depositors and
300 current account holder.  Checks issued by BOTE are not
accepted anywhere outside of the Vanni.  However, the main
BOTL branch in Kilinochchi is conveniently located directly
between the branches of state-owned People's Bank (PB) and
Bank of Ceylon (BOC).  Both are able to accept electronic
funds transfers from expatriate Sri Lankans.  It is therefore
a simple process of receiving funds from abroad via the BOC
or PB branches and simply walking them next door for deposit
into a BOTE account. 

Action Request
-------------- 

¶10. (C) We are losing credibility on terrorism financing
issues with the GSL, which takes our GWOT-related financial
concerns very seriously.  As we suggested a year ago, there
needs to be an interagency USG look into possible LTTE
fundraising in the US.  A review of TRO/USA records and
procedures might be the place to start.  We realize there may
be USG investigative efforts underway of which Embassy
Colombo is not aware.  If that is the case, perhaps the
Department could forward a summary of USG efforts to date.
Moreover, we would appreciate information on where to send
suspected US-hosted Tiger-related website information for
further investigation as well.
ENTWISTLE
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