Thursday, February 09, 2012

Terrorism: Canadian Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to LTTE

U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

Earlier today, defendant Ramanan Mylvaganam pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (“LTTE”), in connection with his attempt to procure sophisticated technology, including submarine design software and night vision equipment, for the LTTE. Mylvaganam faces a maximum term of 15 years’ imprisonment. Five of Mylvaganam’s co-defendants previously pleaded guilty to terrorism-related offenses in connection with their support for the LTTE.

Mylvaganam’s guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

As detailed in previously filed court documents and the defendant’s plea allocution, in March 2006, Mylvaganam conspired to purchase approximately $22,000 worth of submarine design software for the LTTE from a United Kingdom company. Mylvaganam also attempted to purchase night vision equipment for the LTTE from a company in British Columbia, Canada. To deceive this company, Mylvaganam falsely told its representative that the night vision equipment was for “a fourth year design project we are doing at our university.” Mylvaganam also assisted a co-conspirator in purchasing computer equipment, electronics components and communications equipment for the LTTE. Mylvaganam, a Canadian citizen who previously lived in the United States, was extradited from Canada in 2009, following his indictment in the Eastern District of New York.

The LTTE was founded in 1976 and uses illegal methods to raise money, acquire weapons and technology, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE began its armed conflict against the Sri Lankan government in 1983, and utilizes a guerrilla strategy that often includes acts of terrorism. At its height, the LTTE controlled most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka. Over the past 19 years, the LTTE has conducted approximately 200 suicide bombings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of victims, and carried out numerous political assassinations, including the May 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the 1993 assassination of the President of Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa, the July 1999 assassination of Neelan Thiruchelvam, a member of the Sri Lankan parliament, the June 2000 assassination of C.V. Goonaratne, the Sri Lankan Industry Minister, the August 2006 assassination of the Sri Lankan government’s peace secretariat, Ketheshwaran Loganathan, the January 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Minister for Nation Building, D.M. Dassanayake, and the April 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Highways Minister, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.

In 1997, the LTTE was designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and the LTTE therefore may not legally raise money or procure equipment or materials in the United States. In May 2009, the LTTE’s forces in Sri Lanka were defeated by the Sri Lankan government.

“The defendant conspired to provide sophisticated technological equipment to the LTTE, a foreign terrorist organization that has carried out brutal acts of violence against numerous civilians and elected officials,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will use all resources at our disposal to bring terrorist organizations and their supporters to justice.”

“Material support here for foreign terrorist organizations can have lethal consequences. That is why the FBI takes seriously the responsibility to prevent it and do all we can to protect the safety of people around the globe,” stated FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali Kazemi. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington also provided assistance in this case.

The Defendant: