Man who tried selling arms to LTTE convicted in USBy IANS
Thursday, October 21, 2010
WASHINGTON - A Singapore man who tried to sell arms to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been convicted by a court in the US.
A Baltimore federal court jury Monday convicted Balraj Naidu, 48, for attempting to sell the weapons to the Tamil Tigers. Four co-conspirators pleaded guilty in the case, said the Sri Lankan embassy here.
Naidu was charged in a conspiracy to provide material support to the LTTE, which in 1997 was designated by the US as a terrorist organization. The LTTE was crushed last year.
According to evidence presented at the trial, Naidu and four others arranged to buy about 28 tonnes of US-made weapons and ammunition from an undercover business in Maryland.
The Justice Department said that LTTE representatives made a $250,000 down payment on the $900,000 weapons deal with the bogus company in the summer of 2006.
Naidu faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
The co-conspirators - Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, 40, of Sri Lanka; Haji Subandi, 73, and retired Indonesian Marine Corps General Erick Wotulo, 62, both Indonesians; and Haniffa Bin Osman, 59, of Singapore - all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 57 months, 37 months, 30 months and 37 months in prison respectively.
Naidu’s partners were arrested in September 2006 after inspecting the weapons that were delivered to Guam and making another payment of $450,000 to the undercover business, the Justice Department said.
Naidu was arrested after a further investigation.
The group also tried to buy weapons from China, Thailand, North Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia for the LTTE.