Geneva: Members of the Sri Lankan Tamil
Tigers group allegedly extorted millions from ethnic Tamils in
Switzerland to fund their armed revolt against the government
in Colombo, Swiss newspapers reported Sunday.
The allegations formed the basis for a series of police
raids on Tuesday against Tamil individuals and companies
across Switzerland, Zurich weeklies NZZ am Sonntag and
Prosecutors announced earlier this week that 10 people
were arrested in the raids, of whom eight are still being
Walburga Bur, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors
office in Bern, declined to comment on reports in Swiss media
that those arrested included the head, the finance chief and
other senior members in Switzerland of the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam, as the group is formally called.
SonntagsBlick quoted the lawyer for one alleged victim
today as saying his client was forced to take out an 80,000
Swiss-franc (USD 83,000) loan and give the money to the rebel
group`s office in Switzerland.
Swiss prosecutors have now set up telephone hotlines to
encourage others in Switzerland`s large Tamil community who
may have been victims of extortion to come forward.
Unlike in other European countries and the United States,
the Tigers were never banned in Switzerland.
The group, which claimed to be fighting against decades
of discrimination by Sri Lanka`s ethnic Sinhalese majority,
was crushed by the military in 2009 after a 25-year war in
which tens of thousands died.