Report on Peoples Temple Assets Abroad (Text)

REPORT ON PEOPLES TEMPLE ASSETS ABROAD, AND SUMMARY OF USG RECOVERY EFFORTS WITH RESPECT THERETO, AS OF FEBRUARY 20, 1979

[Page 2]

SUMMARY

We have reason to believe that the Peoples Temple may have assets in the following foreign countries, as indicated:

1. Guyana $4,000,000* Tab A
2.  Panama $7,335,792* Tab B
3. Switzerland $800,000* Tab C
4. Nassau, Bahamas $206,000 Tab D
5. Grenada, West Indies $76,000 Tab E
6. Venezuela $33,757 Tab F
7. Trinidad & Tobago Tab G
8. Curacao Tab H
9. Other Tab I
Total $12,451,549

*: Estimate, partially confirmed

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Tab A

Country: Guyana

Estimated PT assets: $3,160,850 (Plus cash, jewelry, checks, accounts, real and personal property in undetermined amount.)

Actions taken by USG [United States Government]: Repatriation of bodies of deceased PT members; repatriation of survivors; AmEmb [American Embassy] retained local counsel for legal advice; 12/20/78 msg. to AmEmb re: protection of USG interests vis-à-vis PT assets in Guyana and request for inventory of same; 12/22/78 AmEmb letters to all Guyanese banks in which PT allegedly had deposits; obtained copies of articles of incorporation for three (3) Guyanese PT corporations; studying whether USG should join GOG [Government of Guyana] in lawsuit filed by GOG in Supreme Court of Guyana on 2/9/79.

Attitude of foreign government: Difficult to determine at this time. Polite, but generally noncommittal. It is entirely possible that the GOG claim will eat up all PT assets in Guyana, leaving nothing for USG or other claimants.

Local counsel: At early date, AmEmb retained solicitor Gordon Gillette for legal advice.

Litigation initiated: 9 February 1979 GOG (AG) and Guyana Airways Corp. filed suit against PT and several individuals in Supreme Court of Guyana.

Recovery prospects: Uncertain, at best. The situation is complex and fraught with political overtones.

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GUYANA

1.     Cash found at Jonestown between 11/18/78 and 11/20/78 by Guyanese authorities:
*U.S. Dollars
a.     **Guyana Currency
Notes : $137,604.00
Coins : 57.99
$137,661.69 (G) $52,947
b.     US Currency
Notes : $634,501.00
Coins : 366.47
$634,867.47 634,867
c.      Trinidad & Tobago Currency
Notes : $2.00
Coins : 18.92
20.98 ($G20.01) 8
1.     Cash confiscated by Guyanese authorities from Port Kaituma residents between 2/1/78 and 12/3/78:
a.     Guyana Currency
Notes : $11,898 4,576
b.     US Currency
Notes : $296,500 296,500

*: Rounded off to the nearest dollar.

**: As of December 4, 1978 the official exchange rate was approximately

US $1 = G$2.6

G $1 = US 38.46 cents

[Page 5]

  1. Cash from [name deleted], Port Kaituma and Russian Embassy
a.     Guyana Currency
Notes : $87,619.00
[Coins]: 72.45
$87,691.45 (G) $33,727
b.     US Currency
Notes : $15,020 15,020
SUBTOTAL U.S. $1,037,645
(G $2,650,561)

Additional cash and jewelry allegedly flown out of Port Kaituma by [2 names deleted] and not counted above (unconfirmed.)

$1,000,000

  1. US Government checks in the names of PT members and found at or near Jonestown (unconfirmed.)

200,000

  1. Guyana National Cooperative Bank (three accounts) (unconfirmed.)

200,000

  1. Barclays Bank (two accounts.) (unconfirmed.)

711,044

12,161

  1. Bank of Guyana (unconfirmed.)

?

SUBTOTAL U.S. $2,123,205

GRAND TOTAL 3,160,850

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SUSPECTED PT BANK ACCOUNTS IN GUYANA

  1. 1. Guyana National Cooperative Bank, Georgetown (GNCB)

     

    a. External Savings Account No. COR 29489/10

    Balance said to be:

     

    US$5,219.15

    G$13,256.65

    b. Fixed time deposit savings Account No. CO-90-319

    Balance said to be:

    US$5,205.75

    G$13,222.61

    c. Savings Account No. 28549

    Balance said to be:

    US$5,092.89

    G$12,935.93

    d. Checking Account No. 1230 (?)
    2. Barclay’s Bank, Georgetown a. External Savings Account No. 9857/2

    Balance said to be:

    US $711,043.70

    G$1,806,057.03

    b. Savings Account No. (?)

    Balance said to be:

    US $12,161.42

    G $3890.00

    3. Bank of Guyana

     

    Treasury Bill #148 in amount of $1 million (?) In name of PT.
    4. Royal Bank of Canada, Georgetown Details unknown.

 

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Tab B

Country: Panama

Estimated PT assets: $7,335,792 (plus possible other bank accounts and assets – e.g., Albatross III – which may raise this figure somewhat, if confirmed.)

Actions taken by USG: DOJ Attorney (Jim Hergen) visited Panama 12/26/78-12/29/78; retained prominent local counsel; found criminal “denunciation” with Attorney General’s Office; discussed case with high GOP [Government of Panama] officials; succeeded in freezing accounts in SBC [Swiss Banking Corporation] and UBS [Union Bank of Switzerland], Panama branches; presented to MOJ formal letter of request for criminal assistance signed by DAAG Keeney; obtained articles of incorporation for PT Panamanian companies; sought detailed legal advice from Panamanian counsel; obtained all shares (bearer) for San Pedro Corp.; enlisted good offices of GOP and AmEmb, Panama.

Attitude of foreign government: Cooperative and sympathetic. GOP would probably like to wash its hands of this matter, but must act in full accordance with applicable laws, e.g., bank secrecy law.

Local counsel: Firm of Morgan y Morgan. Excellent reputation; highly regarded in Panama. $100 per hour.

Litigation initiated: Criminal investigation commenced on basis of “denunciation” filed by DOJ. No civil lawsuit initiated to date.

Recovery prospects: Generally felt favorable. Prompt, clean recovery by anyone will probably be frustrated unless USG and Receiver can agree to work together in Panama.

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PT BANK ACCOUNTS IN PANAMA

  1. Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS)
    1. No. 222-00-042A, opened May 3, 1978 in the name of San Pedro.
      1. Current balance, $350,000. (Confirmed.)
    2. No. 121-00-135A, in the name of Esther Lillian Mueller (deceased)
      1. Current balance, $1255.97 (Confirmed.)
    3. No. 121-00-191A, in the name of Annie J. McGowan (deceased)
      1. Current balance, $4,941,536.51 (Confirmed.)
  1. Swiss Banking Corporation (SBC)
    1. No. 3357, suspected to be in the name of either Annie J. McGowan or [name deleted], or both
    2. Balance said to be $2,043,000 (Unconfirmed#.)
    3. No. 100-468-1, in the name of [name deleted], details unknown. (Per [name deleted]) (Unconfirmed.)
  1. Banco Union
    1. Account said to be in the name of San Pedro. Details unknown. (Unconfirmed.)
  1. Banco Mercantile
    1. Account said to be in the name of Asociacion Evangelica de los Americas. Details unknown. (Unconfirmed.)
  1. Banco Colombia (downtown branch)
    1. Account said to be in the name of Asociacion E.D. Empressa Charitiva Internationale, S.A. No. 0900522-6. Details unknown. (Unconfirmed.)

*: We expect to obtain confirmation in the future:

 

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Tab C

Country: Switzerland

Estimated PT assets: ? “Substantial, but less than $1 million”

Actions taken by USG: Caused all suspected PT accounts to be blocked, pursuant to US/Swiss Criminal Assistance Treaty.

Attitude of foreign government: Unknown at this time. Swiss have apparently been cooperative and complying with our request under the treaty to freeze and identify PT assets, but we have not yet received any details.

Local counsel: None

Litigation initiated: None, other than our treaty request for criminal assistance.

Recovery prospects: Generally favorable. As in Panama, however, recovery prospects will probably depend largely upon how closely we can work with the Receiver.

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PT ACCOUNTS, ETC. IN SWITZERLAND

  1. Union Bank of Switzerland, Zurich
    1. Safety-deposit box No. 146-65 HUK, in the name of Teresa Jean Buford. Contents unknown. (However, Buford’s 9/21/78 letter to the bank refers to “documents, valuables and contents.”)
  2. No. 220-117-60J, in the name of San Pedro. (According to information obtained from UBS, Panama, this account was closed out; the Swiss authorities, however, have informally led us to believe that there may still exist some residual funds in this account.)
  3. Swiss Banking Corporation.  Details unknown.

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Tab D

Country: Nassau, Bahamas

Estimated PT assets: $206,396

Actions taken by USG: Formal diplomatic request to GOB o/a [on or about] 1/20/79 requesting all possible assistance of GOB in mobilizing and identifying PT assets.

Attitude of foreign government: Unknown.

Local counsel: None

Litigation initiated: None.

Recovery prospects: Unknown.

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PT ASSETS IN BAHAMAS

  1. Bank of Nova Scotia, Nassau
    1. Account said to be in the names of Jim W. Jones and wife, Marcelline [Marceline]. Balance said to be $206,396.07. Other details unknown. (Unconfirmed.)
    2. Savings Acct. No. SDB413 said to be in the name of P. Adams and [name deleted]. Details unknown.
    3. Possible safe-deposit box #549. Details unknown.

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Tab E

Country: Grenada, West Indies

Estimated PT assets: $76,000

Actions taken by USG: Diplomatic request of 1/20/79 for assistance in immobilizing and identification.

Attitude of foreign government: Unknown.

Local counsel: None

Litigation initiated: None.

Recovery prospects: Unknown.

PT ASSETS IN GRENADA

  1. Grenada National Bank
    1. No. 495, in the name of the Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ. Signatories said to be Patti Cartwell [Patty Cartmell] and [name deleted]. Said to contain a balance of somewhere between $60,000 and $200,000.

 

[Page 14]

Tab F

Country: Venezuela

Estimated PT assets: ? Reports ranged from a low of $33,757 to a high of $2 million

Actions taken by USG: 1/20/79 State msg. to AmEmb. Caracas, requesting that AmEmb present formal note to GOV seeking all possible assistance in identifying and immobilizing PT assets there. On 2/9/79 GOV responded that it is “interested in the matter” and that the Foreign Minister has related our request to “other [GOV] [brackets in original] agencies which might be competent.” The GOV also promised us a follow-up report on the results of intra-governmental consultation which part to be held on this matter.

Attitude of foreign government: GOV appears to be willing to cooperate with USG within limits of law.

Local counsel: None

Litigation initiated: None.

Recovery prospects: Unknown.

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PT ASSETS IN VENEZUELA

  1. Banco Union, Caracas

 

  1. No. 01-58115-5, said to be in the name of San Pedro, signatories said to be T. Buford and C. Layton. Current balance is said to be G $85,745 (US $33,757) as of 6/78. Believed to be a checking account. (Unconfirmed.)
  2. No. (?), said to be in the names of Maria Katsaris and [name deleted], other details unknown. (Unconfirmed.)

 

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Tab G

Country: Trinidad and Tobago (Port of Spain)

Estimated PT assets: None

Comment: We had originally obtained information the Temple had a $60,000 account at Barclays Bank. The account was allegedly in the name of Asociacion E.D. Charitiva Internationale Empressa, S.A. This account was allegedly to be used purchase supplies, etc. for the PT Vessel “Albatross III”. Helan Swinney and Richard Janero [Janaro] are said to have had access to this account. The Acct. No. was 154-156-488.

We have now confirmed through several independent sources (see e.g. FBI Memo, dated 2/6/79) that the account was opened on 11/6/78 in the name of Helen Beatrice Swinney with an initial deposit of $60,000. The account was closed out by Swinney on 12/8/78.

The FBI has interviewed Swinney and has seen the account book. Withdrawals are indicated as follows:

  1. November (?), 1978 – $2000
  2. November 8, 1978 – $15,000
  3. November 10, 1978 – $15,000
  4. November 14, 1978 – $10,000
  5. November 24, 1978 – $17,800
  6. December 8, 1978 – $200

Swinney was vague and elusive concerning how the funds were disposed of. She did indicate, however, that subsequent to the events of 11/15/78 she gave $11,000 to her son-in-law, Charles Touchette, ostensibly for use in connection with further operations of the “Albatross III”.

Abraham Shipping Co., Ltd, the local agent for the Albatross III in Port of Spain, maintains an “agency account” for the Albatross III from which operating costs are dispersed. It is not an account owned by either the PT or its members, and cannot be drawn upon by them. Further details unavailable.

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Tab H

Country: Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Estimated PT assets: ?

Actions taken by USG: Diplomatic request of 1/20/79 for assistance in immobilizing and identification.

Attitude of foreign government: Unknown.

Local counsel: None

Litigation initiated: None.

Recovery prospects: Unknown.

PT ASSETS IN CURACAO

We have received unconfirmed reports from Buford and [name deleted] (see also FBI msg. of 12/22/78) that there may exist in some as yet unidentified bank in Curaçao an account in the names of Jim Jones, Carolyn Layton and Maria Katsaris.

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Tab I

There have been other, unconfirmed, reports that the People’s Temple may have had bank accounts, etc., in the United Kingdom (London), Canada and Romania. Except for having sent a diplomatic note to the UKMOF [United Kingdom Ministry of Finance] o/a 1/20/79 we have not pursued these leads.

Originally posted on December 5th, 2017.

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