Canada puts Tamil group on terrorist list

Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:33pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government added the World Tamil Movement to its list of terrorist groups on Monday, describing it as a front organization that raised funds for the rebel Tamil Tigers fighting against the government in Sri Lanka.

The World Tamil Movement's assets will be frozen and Canada's banking regulator said that Canadian financial institutions must review their records and immediately report to the federal police any transactions made by the group.

The directive covers Canadian banks, insurance companies and credit unions and is part of Ottawa's effort to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

"We have to send a clear message that we do not countenance this type of activity," Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day told a news conference in Toronto.

"By listing this group as a terrorist-related organization, it will also be illegal for individuals or other groups or associations to assist in any way the World Tamil Movement."

The World Tamil Movement, based in Toronto, was created in 1986 and the Canadian government called it "the leading front organization" for the rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers.

The group has waged an often violent campaign for decades against the Sri Lankan government in order to create a separate Tamil state in the country.

The evidence "is both sufficient and reasonable" to show that the WTM has been involved in fundraising to support the Tamil Tigers, Day said.

But the minister would not say how much money WTM raised in Canada or sent to Sri Lanka.   Continued...