TOKYO, July 20–(Kyodo) _ Police on Thursday raided the home of a former AUM Shinrikyo cult member in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, and related places on suspicion that the man and another former cult member had fraudulently opened a bank account to evade taxes.
The 35-year-old man and his conspirator — a 35-year-old woman — allegedly opened the savings account with the purpose of having the man’s company dodge taxes and used the account to support the wife and daughter of AUM founder Shoko Asahara, whose death sentence is believed likely to be finalized in the near future.
Among the places searched in Tokyo, Saitama and Ibaraki prefectures, Asahara’s daughter was living in the man’s house, and his wife in a house in Ryugasaki, Ibaraki, according to public security officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
The police believe that the suspects are in charge of taking care of Asahara’s family members and have used money remitted to the account in question to pay their rent and other living costs.
The account was opened in 2002 in the name of the woman at a bank in Tokyo so that the man’s computer software company could transfer money as salaries for the woman, who was not actually working for the firm, thus concealing its taxable income, the police said.
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death at the Tokyo District Court in February 2004 for his role in 13 criminal cases including two deadly sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 and in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994.
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The sentence will stand if the Supreme Court does not overturn the Tokyo High Court’s rejection of his appeal against the death sentence, which is unlikely unless any violation of the Constitution or a precedent can be found in the high court decision.
AUM Shinrikyo has renamed itself Aleph.