Businessman sues cult leader over false claims

The Advertiser, Australia/June 27, 2010

Runaway cult leader Rocco Leo convinced a successful Adelaide businessman he would be poisoned and killed by an evil government unless he handed over $1.2 million, court documents allege.

The documents say that the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is suing the head of Agape Ministries for more than $1 million, plus damages, costs and interest, after he handed over cash and goods to the doomsday cult.

Court documents state Leo told the man the earth's population would soon be impregnated with tiny microchips that would hold their personal information.

Those who refused the chip would be branded terrorists and gassed or beheaded in government-run concentration camps.

" ... whilst it would not be compulsory to have the chip inserted, those who chose not to would be branded by the government as terrorists and ... be rounded up by government and confined to concentration camps where ultimately they would be exterminated," Leo allegedly told the man.

He also allegedly said anyone who chose to have the microchip implanted would, unbeknown to them, die a slow death by poison released from the tiny component.

"(They) would be poisoned as a consequence of the said chip, containing poisons that would be released from it and cause cancerous boils to appear on the skin resulting in death," the court document says.

The document states the businessman handed over $820,000 in cash, as well as $132,000 in equipment and $250,000 in free labour.

Leo was said to have told him the money would be used to establish a Bible college for Agape members and set up Butterflies Cafe, a former Pirie St business which he said would help street kids and victims of abuse.

Leo is also being sued by a "profoundly vulnerable" disabled woman who alleges that she handed over her life savings after he told her she would be healed and saved from death on Agape's tropical island.

Both matters will return to court on July 7.

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