Millions of dollars uncovered in a hidden bank account linked to a doomsday cult – as angry former followers go to war to claim a share

Daily Mail, Australia/September 9, 2016

By Nic White

Millions stashed away by a defunct doomsday cult have been uncovered - and everyone from its fugitive founder, to duped ex-members to the taxman wants a piece of the action.

More than six years after Agape Ministries collapsed, the three parties are clamouring to get their hands on a bank account holding $6.7 million in the name of its offshoot Universal Holdings Australia.

The Australian Tax Office has demanded the untouched millions go towards paying the Adelaide cult's unpaid debt, according to The Advertiser.

It claimed in the SA Supreme Court on Friday that the tax bill had ballooned from $3 million to $10 million.

Meanwhile, seven former members want to $2.2 million they were hoodwinked out of by Agape founder Rocco Leo's apocalyptic claims.

But Leo's lawyers insist neither of them can touch the frozen cash because it is held by a third party with no proof it belongs to their client. 

His counsel Steven Mitchell said the money should instead fund Leo's ongoing appeals against payouts awarded to the ATO and his former followers.

'It’s not directly connected, that’s the root of our criticism... if there was proof this was (solely) our client’s money, it should have been brought forward a long time ago,' he said.

The cult leader fled to Fiji after Agape's compound was raided by police in 2010 and shut down when a cache of weapons, ammunition and explosives. 

All of his assets were frozen after the raid, including eight properties and a fleet of 13 vehicles spanning two states, with funds in 10 different bank accounts.

Accounts were appointed to liquidate everything to pay its debts, but the ATO said it would support unfreezing and sale of Agape’s two remaining properties, worth $2.6 million, to cover Leo's legal expenses.

One of the properties, the sprawling 15.3 hectare Kuipto Colony Retreat one hour south of Adelaide, went to auction in 2014 but failed to attract a single bidder.

The mess has gotten so complicated with so many ongoing disputes, appeals and parties that all cases will be consolidated into the Supreme Court under the oversight of a single Justice.

Agape warned followers of a 2010 apocalypse, claiming that everyone on Earth would be implanted with microchips and those who refused would be killed by the government.

Leo allegedly promised to save cult members by taking them a place called 'The Island' in the South Pacific if they handed over their life savings. 

Family of Agave members said Leo told his followers he had bought an island in Vanuatu and convinced them to hand over money – in some cases as much as $1 million – to fund their new life.

In 2010 Leslie Baligod, whose son and two granddaughters were members of the cult, said the young girls aged six and eight had been promised in marriage to adult cult members and issued a public plea for their safety.

She said the group was stockpiling weapons and all cult members had been given firearms training.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos