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Mon, 01 September 2014 22:41:33
Sri Lanka Tamil Tiger terror funds network bared in Canada probe
19 Aug, 2008 14:35:14
Aug 19, 2008 (LBO) - An investigation by Canadian police has revealed details of a Tamil Tiger fund raising and money laundering network in which the group raised more than three million dollars to buy weapons.
According to a report in Canada's National Post newspaper, the Toronto-based World Tamil Movement (WTM) has been accused of bankrolling the Tigers by raising funds from Tamil immigrants and transferring them to overseas bank accounts.

The WTM was shut down by the Canadian government in June for alleged terrorist financing.

The newspaper quoted a secret report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) which was unsealed by a federal court order.

Most of the money, 1.9-million dollars, went to an account at the Bumiputra Commerce Bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that the RCMP report says "is utilized as a vehicle to forward money to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) from Canada."

The 83-page financial report is the fruit of two years of analysis of banking records seized by Canadian anti-terrorism police who are investigating a financial network run by supporters of the Tamil Tigers that allegedly raised money in Canada to buy arms for the guerrillas, the National Port said.

"The bank records seized demonstrate that the World Tamil Movement has developed an elaborate machine-like entity that moves throughout the Greater Toronto Area collecting funds with extreme proficiency," it quoted the police report as saying.

Stockwell Day, Canada's Public Safety Minister, announced in June that the government had added the WTM to Ottawa's official list of terrorist groups, alongside the likes of al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Minister has accused the WTM of transferring money to LTTE bank accounts in Sri Lanka.

The newspaper said the WTM has denied any involvement in terrorist fund-raising and vowed to challenge the government's decision.

The RCMP's report gives a detailed picture of a complex network made up of 20 Canadian bank accounts in five banks: Toronto-Dominion, Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank, CIBC and the National Bank of Canada.

The Canadian account holders wired money regularly to accounts in Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Tamil Tigers-controlled areas of Sri Lanka, the newspaper said.

RCMP Corporal Deanna Hill, the author of the police report, wrote that the WTM's financial set-up was "congruent with the money laundering techniques often employed by organized crime groups."

The paper said police seized letters from the Tamil Tigers leadership thanking Canada for its donations, explaining how the money had been used to purchase weapons, and asking for more.

The police report claims the WTM's most lucrative fundraising method was a pre-authorized payment program, in which the Tigers persuaded hundreds of its supporters to sign forms allowing money to be withdrawn from their bank accounts each month.

The WTM took in up to 763,000 dollars a year using the payment scheme. On a single day in 2005, the WTM withdrew 63,528 dollars from 1,582 bank accounts.

"It is obvious from the amounts collected with this method that the pre-authorized payment scheme is effective, timely and spares valued resources," says the RCMP report.

Most of the forms had been signed in Canada but police also interviewed witnesses who said they had signed them at Tamil Tigers checkpoints in northern Sri Lanka, the National Post said.

"Upon their return to Canada, these persons were visited by representatives of the World Tamil Movement to exact the collection of the monthly stipend," Cpl. Hill wrote the newspaper said.

The WTM also made money through bake sales, car washes, newspaper sales, merchandise sales and festivals, the report says.

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