Doomsday cult's empire dismantled and ordered to pay

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Doomsday cult's empire dismantled and ordered to pay

Post13 Aug 2012

Agape doomsday cult's financial empire dismantled, ordered to pay taxman $3 million

THE Agape doomsday cult's financial empire will be carved up by the taxman following a $3 million court judgment.

This morning, the District Court ordered the controversial group and its fugitive founder, Rocco Leo, settle their debts with the Australian Taxation Office. For two years, the ATO has pursued Agape, Leo and his confidante, Joe Veneziano, for amounts left unpaid since 2009. It stripped Agape of its tax-exempt status as a religion and froze its assets - eight properties, 13 vehicles and 10 bank accounts in Silver Age and Victoria. Auditors sought $4.1 million, claiming Leo had "juggled" a further $5.6 million between his accounts in a "very crude attempt to hide money". Previously, the court has heard Leo and his inner circle of followers are in Fiji.

In June, he was ordered to pay a disabled former parishioner $420,000 compensation over claims he duped her with tales of human microchipping and global Armageddon.

Today, Stephen Lynton, for the ATO, said the nature of the case had changed. He told the court new calculations had found Leo owed $2.4 million, Veneziano owed $1.1 million while Agape Ministries' debt was just $17,952.20. Sam Doyle, for the defendants, said his clients would not oppose any order they pay those amounts. He said the ATO should pay his clients' court costs due to the "significant changes" in the case.

"(Leo's) debt increased from $1.6 million to $2.3 million but the amount owed by Agape went down," he said."That goes to the very centrepiece of our claim in this matter: that the old assessments (of debt) were not properly done." Mr Doyle said his clients also wanted access to the remainder of their funds now that the case had concluded. Master Peter Norman said they would have to file a new application with the court. He ordered the ATO be repaid and reserved his decision on costs.
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Re: Doomsday cult's empire dismantled and ordered to pay

Post14 Aug 2012

As an example, in order to question what the BKWSU is worth now, the Yogi Bhajan RSS cult's financial empire, a sect of mainly caucasian would be Sikhs and yogis, was estimated to be worth as much as two billion dollars; as indicated by on-going litigation in Eugene, Oregon pertaining to the division of the empire following its leader's death in 2004. He of the Yogi Tea brand.

Critics claim it was a financial empire built on fraud, deceit and a misrepresentation of the Sikh Religion even falling under the provisions of the RICO anti-racketeering statute. They say fundamental to the promotion of the enterprise was the propaganda that the purveyors had secret and mystical knowledge. As with the Brahma Kumaris, the aura of "secret and mystical knowledge" is re-packaged for Whites who have a false Occidental perception of Indians having mystical knowledge. Combined with dressing up as Indians, it seems to work wonders.

I have no way of knowing and comparing what the Brahma Kumaris have. Nor do I have any personal criticisms of the 3HO movement. However, on a purely anecdotal basis, I would say there are more BKs than "£HO" followers, and more wealthier and business orientated individuals with the BKs too. The 3HO people always seemed to be gentle, hippy types.

Does this sound familiar?

“What Yogi Bhajan accomplished,” says his nephew, Surjit P. Soni, “is truly remarkable. He came without a dime in his pocket. He started teaching Yoga, and formed a series of nonprofits. He encouraged entrepreneurialism among a bunch of people that were basically disenfranchised and lost, and created at least two significant businesses to perpetuate the nonprofits.”

“This is a huge corruption case. It really reads like a spy novel,” says Hari Nam Singh Khalsa, a longtime Portland Sikh convert now living in New York City.

“It’s like the Catholic Church,” Hari Nam adds. “My mother-in-law was an absolutely saintly person, but the people running her church were basically criminals ... They may look like they’re saints, and talk like they’re saints—but you dangle 5 cents in front of them, and what do you know?”

Although it appears Yogi Bhajan had little in the way of money or assets, he had a luxurious lifestyle, with a private chauffeur and a large personal staff of secretaries, attendants and nurses who worked as much as 16 hours a day, according to courtroom testimony, interviews with Sikh Dharma members and published reports.

Although members came and went ... companies grew steadily, a real achievement considering that the converted Sikhs had little access to outside capital. In addition to individual tithing, members sometimes donated their companies to the church, with the understanding that profits would be used for the good of the community.

- From "Death of a Yogi"

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