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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 72

Aussie assassination suspect is linked to Red Cross scam

[b]Aussie assassination suspect is linked to Red Cross scam[/b]

By Matthew Benns - Sun Herald Australia

23 October, 2005: An Australian citizen arrested in Sri Lanka in connection with the assassination of the foreign minister has been accused of being a debt-ridden entrepreneur who falsely used the Australian Red Cross logo to give himself credibility.

"Captain" Charles Gnanakone has also left a string of debts in NSW after a cash-for-visas scheme he was involved in embarrassed then immigration minister Philip Ruddock before it foundered.

Gnanakone was arrested in a house near the capital, Colombo, and could face the death penalty if charged with, and found guilty of, the murder of Lakshman Kadirgamar.

The 60-year-old, who holds dual citizenship, was arrested in a house rented by two Australian citizens after the army received a tip-off that he was there with a group of suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers).

Gnanakone is believed to have links to the Tamil Tigers and was sought by police over the assassination. He is being held without charge under Sri Lankan law.

Mr Kadirgamar was gunned down outside his home in August after he relaxed his security.

Sri Lanka's Inspector-General of Police, Chandra Fernando, said charges had not been laid and the other Australians in the house at the time of Gnanakone's arrest were not implicated.

Investigations by the Sunday Times newspaper in Sri Lanka have alleged that Gnanakone is known for "money-laundering and smuggling guns for the Tamil Tiger terrorists".

During his time in Dubbo, where he spent time as the face of the failed $55 million Pioneer Spirit Development, Gnanakone told the Daily Liberal newspaper of his sympathies for the Tamil Tigers.

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