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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2341

Sniper link to Dubbo identity

[b]Sniper link to Dubbo identity[/b]

[b]By Kathy Stone [/b]

[b]Melbourne, 14 October:[/b] Former Dubbo businessman Charles Gnanakone has been named as the alleged linchpin in August's assassination of Sri Lankan foreign affairs minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. The Daily Liberal has learned that Mr Gnanakone came to the attention of Australian Federal Police more than two years ago while he was still active in Dubbo.

He was a key figure in the now defunct $55 million Pioneer Spirit Development (PSD) earmarked for West Dubbo.

Sri Lankan authorities confirmed the one-time shipping magnate was arrested by the army's Operations Command on October 10 and turned over to the Colombo Crime Division. He remains in police custody with his Australian and Sri Lankan passports impounded to prevent him leaving the country, police public relations said yesterday.

It is alleged Mr Gnanakone befriended the high-ranking politician, giving him assurances that he was under no threat from the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main suspects behind the murder.

"All we can tell you at this stage is that he is still in police custody and inquiries are continuing," a police spokesman said. "The LTTE are the main suspects for the murder. Initial arrests were made but those people have been released but (Mr Gnanakone) is still being held."

The businessman told the Daily Liberal as early as December 2002 that he was an LTTE sympathizer but denied allegations linking him to the shipment of weapons.

But it is now apparent Federal Police had their own concerns about his activities.

Known locally as "Captain Charles," he was brought into the PSD project by Jim Foo - later the subject of a 2003 police manhunt and eventually jailed in Singapore on charges of property fraud.

http://www.asiantribune.com/show_news.php?id=15864

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