Seven years ago, the South Carolina plaintiffs firm Motley Rice, which made its name in tobacco and asbestos mass tort litigation, filed a $1 trillion suit against members of the Saudi royal family on behalf of 9/11 victims and their families. Since then, the firm has become something of a private human rights avenger, filing a half-dozen other terrorism-related cases on behalf of victims around the world. The firm’s most recent headline-grabber: Thursday’s 67-page New Jersey federal district court complaint (pdf) against Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group hedge fund founder indicted earlier this month for insider trading.

The plaintiffs in the Motley Rice suit — victims and survivors of attacks by the Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan separatist group — accuse Rajaratnam of funneling as much as $5 million to the Tigers via a Sri Lankan charity front. (Rajaratnam’s defense lawyer, James Walden of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, told Bloomberg the allegations are “flatly untrue and libelous.”) Though Motley Rice filed the suit now to capitalize on media interest in Rajaratnam following his arrest, the firm has been investigating the Galleon founder for a year.

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