Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2370

London LTTE chief arrested

By Dushy Ranetunge in London

London, 22 June, (Asiantribune.com): The long standing chief of the LTTE in London A C Shanthan alias A Krishanthakumar was arrested by New Scotland Yard at approximately 3.45pm on Thursday evening under the British Terrorism Act 2000. His arrest under the Terrorism Act 2000 is significant in that he can be held for up to 28 days. A.C. Shanthan was very close to Balasingham and the duo more or less ran the LTTE in London. He also accompanied Balasingham and wife Adel during their last visit to Geneva for peace talks in February 2006. A.C. Shanthan was very close to Balasingham and the duo more or less ran the LTTE in London. He also accompanied Balasingham and wife Adel during their last visit to Geneva for peace talks in February 2006.

He is spending the nights these days in a cell at the Paddington Green Police station in central London where all the high profile terrorists including the ones from the IRA were held.

Shanthan was scheduled to be arrested next week, but another arrest led to the date being brought forward. This second character is known as Golden Lambert (Sri Lankan Tamil) who is a key figure in LTTE front, the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO).

Scotland Yard was tracking Lamberts movements and on Thursday, Golden Lambert flew into London from Dubai and was arrested at the airport. This necessitated the arrest of Shanthan in order not to compromise the investigation.

As I write this report, the British police are raiding the offices of several LTTE fronts such as the British Tamil Association (BTA), Tamil Youth Organisation(TYO) and several private residences including that of Shanthan. The Police have removed a large amount of material from Shanthan’s residence.

The arrest relates to a propaganda event the LTTE organised in Hyde Park last year in breach of the Terrorism Act 2000. Prominent Tamils in London made several complaints to the British police about the event and Police initiated inquiries and referred it to the Crown Prosecution Service. The Crown Prosecution Service believes that there is a prima fascia case against the two.

The authorities are considering other arrests.

A C Shanthan is from the Chavakachcheri region in Jaffna. His wife is a cousin of the LTTE leader Prabakaran’s wife Madhivadini.

After the Rajiv Gandhi assassination in May 1991, the Indian intelligence agency, RAW stepped up surveillance on LTTE international operations. Aggressive lobbying by diplomats of the Indian foreign office, led to the deportation of Sathasivam Krishnaswamy alias Kittu, the charismatic one legged one time Jaffna commander from London to Switzerland. Kittu had been in charge of the LTTE operations in London at the time.

With Kittu’s deportation, A C Shanthan filled the vacuum in London and has remained for almost 20 years as the hands-on leader of the LTTE who was responsible for organising LTTE events, fund raising and all other LTTE activity in the UK.

The LTTE web site www.eelam.com was registered in A. C. Shanthan’s name, with the LTTE HQ, Eelam House, 202 Long Lane, London SE1 as the registered address.

Shanthan was very close to Balasingham and the duo more or less ran the LTTE in London. He also accompanied Balasingham and wife Adel during their last visit to Geneva for peace talks in February 2006.

Shanthan operated via the British Tamil Association (BTA) which had uniformed goons in the LTTE Vanni police style, to police Tamil fund raising and propaganda events.

The BTA was Shanthan’s fund raising vehicle and some of the monies raised and extorted were deposited into various British registered LTTE charities. These would show up in the charities accounts as an extraordinarily large component of “cash” donations. The British Charity Commissioner during their investigation of the TRO in London commented on these anonymous cash donations. The British registered charities acted as the money laundering vehicle to move funds out of the United Kingdom without attracting Tax, for charitable “rehabilitation” work in Sri Lanka. In reality the “rehabilitation” work was done by the NGO’s and the Sri Lankan state, while BTA funds were making it to the LTTE coffers to fund the terrorist cause.

Murder

There is a dark episode in relation to Shanthan’s past which may implicate him to the murder of two LTTE leaders in Paris a few years ago, Kandiah Perinpanathan formerly the LTTE's treasurer and Kajan of the Eelamurasu.

In the late 1990’s the LTTE’s money collectors/extortionists went on strike at Eelam House over a dispute. Perinpanathan and Kajan were brought in from Paris to sort out the mess. The two put in place a new financial system in London, which was viewed by Shanthan as an encroachment onto his turf and led to disagreements. Soon afterwards, Perinpanathan and Kajan were shot and killed in Paris. Many Tamils in London as well as the LTTE in the Vanni suspected Shanthan of being involved. On one occasion he was being questioned about the issue during a visit to the Vanni and was only saved because of intervention by Balasingham. Since then Shanthan has never travelled to the Vanni alone. He would always accompany Balasingham.

Shanthan used to operate from Eelam House in London, which was sold a few years ago. Fr S J Emmanuel, a prominent LTTE propagandist/lobbyist and a former vicar general of Jaffna, christened Eelam house as the High Commission of Tamil Eelam during the opening ceremony.

Eelam house had a large hall on the ground floor which contained propaganda material and offices on the top floor with computers, which contained sensitive information, with the identities of LTTE sympathisers and fund raising details.

The LTTE in London were always cocky about their perceived invincibility. During the heroes day speech prior to the British listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, Balasingham suggested to the Tamil audience, speaking in Tamil language, that even if the whites ban them, they have smart lawyers and accountants who could get around the ban. It is perhaps this sense of invincibility that led Shanthan, to so brazenly organise a terrorist propaganda event in breach of the British Terrorism Act 2000. The LTTE in London always thought that they could pull the wool over the British authorities because they were so smart.

On Thursday, the LTTE’s invincible little world in London came crashing down. The arrests will deal a severe blow to LTTE activity in the United Kingdom and its in line with other arrests in the United States and France. The organisation is under severe military pressure in Sri Lanka and its international network is facing significant disruption.

The International community wants de-escalation of the Sri Lankan conflict and these strategies are expected to encourage the LTTE to compromise and move towards the negotiating table.

- Asian Tribune -

Share this


.