Fraud allegations spur police raids of Aum locations

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Police on Thursday raided the home of a former Aum Shinrikyo member in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, and related places on suspicion that the man and another ex-cultist had fraudulently opened a bank account to evade taxes and to support their condemned guru’s family on the sly.

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 expected 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.

Police believe the pair are in charge of taking care of Asahara’s family 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 the man’s computer software company could transfer money as wages for the woman, who was not actually working for the firm, thus concealing its taxable income, 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 the deadly sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 and another one in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994.