AUM tries worming out of compensation

Mainichi Daily News, January 8, 2000

AUM Shinrikyo tried to outwit its receivers by telling them it would use money from the sale of land it owned to compensate victims of its terrorist acts, but then actually attempted to siphon the money away, sources said Friday.

Saburo Abe, the doomsday cult's receiver, said he cottoned on to what AUM was trying to do and took out a court order late last year that prevented the cult from getting its hands on money that most would prefer was diverted to its victims.

"I had no other option but to doubt the integrity of the cult when it promised to use the funds to compensate its victims," Abe said. On Dec. 16, the cult contacted Abe and said it wanted to sell some of the land it owned and use the proceeds of the sale to compensate victims of crimes like the 1995 lethal nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 and injured thousands. Receivers ordered AUM members to take the appropriate steps to sell cult-owned land to local governments in Fukiage, Saitama Prefecture, and the Nagano Prefecture municipalities of Kisofukushima and Minami-Aiki. AUM members later handed over to the receivers 5 million yen from the sale of the Kisofukushima lot. The receivers on Dec. 21 declared these funds to be available to compensate the victims of AUM crimes.

However, on either Dec. 22 or Dec. 23, an AUM member contacted the Kisofukushima Municipal Government and pressured officials to pay some 1. 5 million yen owed to AUM for rent on facilities on the cult's land. AUM's receivers decided that the call meant the cult was trying to get its hands on more money and did not intend to use the funds to pay back its victims.

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