Serial 2164

United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Memorandum

Date: 5/7/79

To: Mr. Moore
From: W.D. Gow

Subject: RYMUR – INQUIRY BY THE DIRECTOR

Reference is made to the Director’s attached memorandum dated 5/9/79 “To Don Moore – What is status of People’s Temple investigation?, WHW.”

Purpose: To provide a response to the Director’s inquiry as to the status of People’s Temple (PT) investigation.

Recommendation: None. For information.

Details: The PT investigation under caption “Rymur” is both civil and criminal in nature. The civil investigation is completed. In December, 1978, the PT parent corporation in California filed a petition for dissolution in Superior Court, San Francisco. On 1/2/79, the Department filed suit in US District Court (USDC), Northern District of California (NDC), on behalf of the US against the PT seeking recovery of $4,298,000; actual expenses incurred in repatriating the remains of PT members. On 4/18/79, the Department entered into an agreement with the California court appointed receiver whereby the Department became the sole plaintiff in the recovery of all foreign assets of the PT. The agreement requires the Department to deposit in the registry of the USDC, NDC, an amount claimed by the US in its suit and the overage recovered from foreign accounts would be deposited with the state court. For your confidential information, the Department has made a policy decision not to file suit to recover funds in Guyana at this time. The Department has retained private counsel in Panama where delicate negotiations are underway to recover approximately $7.7 million in PT assets which have been located on deposit in Panamanian banks. Additional source accounts in unknown amounts have been identified and the Department is dealing with the Swiss government directed in this matter.

[Page 2]

Gow to Moore Memorandum
RE: RYMUR – INQUIRY BY THE DIRECTOR

Our criminal investigation continues at San Francisco with a massive review of thousands of PT documents. On 3/4/79, a Federal grand jury for the NDC returned a true bill of indictment charging Lawrence [Laurence] John Layton with Assassination and Conspiracy to Assassinate Congressman Leo J. Ryan (18 USC 351a and d). The indictment was sealed by the court. Layton is currently on trial in Guyana charged with murder; however, in recent talks with Guyanese officials it was confidentially determined that Guyana would like to deport Layton to the US for prosecution “in the interest of justice and expediency.” US Attorney (USA), San Francisco is considering the viability of this proposition.

Originally posted on August 7th, 2020.

Last modified on November 30th, 2020.
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