Swiss court releases thirteen alleged LTTE financiers | Sunday Observer

Swiss court releases thirteen alleged LTTE financiers

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court on Thursday, June 14 released 13 alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) from prison terms, saying accusations of participation in and support of a criminal organisation did not stand. They were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted, according to Swiss press reports.

The accused from Switzerland, Germany and Sri Lanka were charged with funnelling more than CHF15 million to the LTTE between 1999 and 2009. Some are former members of the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), which represented the LTTE in Switzerland until 2009, and included its founder, his deputy and the person in charge of finances. The trial which opened in January, concluded in March with the verdict given on June 14. During her indictment, Juliette Noto, a federal prosecutor, described a sophisticated system used by the WTCC to raise funds largely for armed struggle from the Tamil community in Switzerland.

The Tamil community in Switzerland was systematically registered and its ability to pay assessed families who refused to pay were threatened, Noto said. Casting the LTTE as a violent movement she enumerated the attacks and crimes attributed to them.