Swiss Police yesterday (11 Jan) in a nationally coordinated operation, raided several properties and arrested ten LTTE cadres, accusing them of involvement in a criminal group as well as money laundering, the Swiss Attorney-General's office said.
“During the course of the investigation, the suspicion that, for many years, the accused persons had forced their fellow countrymen of the Tamil Diaspora to financially support the LTTE, was substantiated,” said the office.
“The victims in Switzerland were put under severe pressure, threatened, or subjected to extortion,” it added.
Authorities found that the accused had forced their fellow countrymen to take out large loans, and to hand over the funds. Those who refused were threatened with reprisals, international media reported.
“Several million Swiss francs were raised and transferred to Sri Lanka where they were used to finance Tamil Tiger activities, in particular, in the purchase of ‘war materials,” said the AG office.
“To disguise the true origin of the funds, they were invested in companies with connections to the LTTE conducting legal business,” noted the attorney-general's office.
Some 23 premises were raided in ten cantons, leading to the arrests in the operation that came after a criminal probe into the Tamil Tigers' activities in Switzerland.
Swiss prosecutors have established a toll free line 0800 10 20 60, calling on witnesses or victims to come forward if they had information on how the LTTE operate.