November 15, 2007
Washington - The U.S. Department of the Treasury today targeted the support network of the designated terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by designating a charitable organization that acts as a front to facilitate fundraising and procurement for the LTTE. Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) was designated today under Executive Order 13224, which is aimed at financially isolating terrorist groups and their support networks.
"TRO passed off its operations as charitable, when in fact it was raising money for a designated terrorist group responsible for heinous acts of terrorism," said Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The LTTE is a terrorist group that has waged a violent secessionist campaign for over two decades to secure a separate state for Tamil-majority regions in Sri Lanka's North and East. The conflict between the LTTE and Sri Lankan military forces has claimed over 60,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan citizens.
In the United States, TRO has raised funds on behalf of the LTTE through a network of individual representatives. According to sources within the organization, TRO is the preferred conduit of funds from the United States to the LTTE in Sri Lanka.
TRO also has facilitated LTTE procurement operations in the United States. Those operations included the purchase of munitions, equipment, communication devices, and other technology for the LTTE.
TRO's efforts worldwide reportedly have allowed the LTTE to use humanitarian aid, which TRO collected from the international community after the December 2004 tsunami, to launch new campaigns to strengthen LTTE military capacity.
According to its website, TRO maintains a headquarters office in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka and operates branch offices throughout Sri Lanka and in seventeen countries worldwide, including the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The LTTE oversees the activities of TRO and other LTTE-linked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sri Lanka and abroad. Directives issued by the LTTE suggest that LTTE-affiliated branch representatives are expected to coordinate their efforts with the respective TRO representatives in their locations and report all activity to the LTTE.
Recent information indicates that the LTTE has ordered international NGOs operating in its territory to provide all project funding through local NGOs, which are managed collectively by TRO. This arrangement allows TRO to withdraw money from the local NGO accounts and to provide a portion of the relief funds to the LTTE. The LTTE has reportedly exerted pressure to comply on a few international NGOs that have resisted these arrangements.
The U.S. Department of State designated the LTTE a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on October 8, 1997, in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. On November 2, 2001, the U.S. Department of State named the LTTE a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under E.O. 13224. Additionally, the LTTE is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and Canada.
The Treasury Department is taking this action today pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from transacting with the designees.
The United States continues to support a just, negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Sri Lanka that meets the aspirations of all communities, including Sri Lanka's Tamils. The U.S. will continue to vigorously support efforts to stop human rights violations against Tamils, including abductions and threats against Tamil journalists.
Identifier information for Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation, including AKAs and address information for its branches worldwide, can be found at the following link: