A third alleged member of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger separatist rebels was arrested in Australia yesterday and charged with supporting a terrorist organization, police said.
Arumugam Rajeevan, 41, appeared briefly in a Sydney court, which ordered his transfer to Melbourne where two other men accused of channeling money to the rebels were arrested in May.
Rajeevan has been charged with being a member of a terrorist organization, providing support or resources to a terrorist organization and making an asset available to a proscribed entity.
If convicted, Rajeevan and two Melbourne businessmen, Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, could face up to 25 years in jail.
"[Rajeevan] was charged in connection with two earlier arrests in May this year to do with raising money for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the terrorist group," police Commissioner Mick Keelty said.
After the first arrests, Australia played down a suggestion that the country was a major source of funds for the Tamil Tigers, who have waged a bloody separatist war in Sri Lanka for 35 years.
Sri Lankan Secretary of Foreign Affairs Palitha Kohona said that up to 30 percent of the Tigers' external funding was raised in Australia, but Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer later dismissed the figure as an exaggeration.
The Tamil Tigers' battle for independence has claimed more than 60,000 lives in Sri Lanka.