AUM Left 2 Gold Ingots Behind

Asahi Shimbun/December 3, 2000

Aum Shinrikyo members were in such a hurry to move out of a house they sold to the village of Tokigawa, Saitama Prefecture, they left two gold ingots behind that were worth 2 million yen, Asahi Shimbun learned Saturday.

Village officials found the 1-kilogram ingots while cleaning up the three-story house in early October. They purchased the house from Aum for 45 million yen in August.

The house was one of two facilities that had accommodated twin sisters of a former senior member of the cult, their aunt and other followers from January 1998 to last August.

After finding the gold ingots, the officials handed them over to Saburo Abe, a court-appointed bankruptcy administrator of the cult, now renamed Aleph.

Village chief Takashi Oosawa expressed surprise that the Aum occupants overlooked the gold ingots when they moved out. Village officials found the ingots wrapped in cloth inside a case that is normally used to store videocassette tapes.

Since the village is now the rightful owner of the gold it has the right to sell the ingots, said Shigeo Sekine, chief of the general affairs section in the village office. But after consulting with Abe, the bankruptcy administrator, it was agreed the ingots should be sold to help victims of crimes perpetrated by the cult.

The village had allowed the twin sisters to enroll at the local elementary school on condition they left the village in August.

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