Court fight settled over cult donation

ABC News, Australia/March 5, 2012

Fugitive cult leader Rocco Leo has reached an out-of-court settlement in a civil lawsuit brought by a former parishioner.

Leo is wanted in South Australia on fraud charges but was not extradited from Fiji after he and two of his associates were detained there last year.

He is being sued by two former parishioners who say they donated significant sums based on false representations.

One plaintiff, Martin Ron Penney, claimed he gave $1.2 million to Agape Ministries, but revised his claim down to $866,000.

The Adelaide District Court heard that case had now been settled, but the terms of the agreement were confidential.

Outside court, Penney's lawyer declined to comment.

A second claim brought by a disabled woman who allegedly donated her house on the false promise she would be healed is due be tried in June.

But the court previously heard that claim may also be settled.

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