DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
COMMUNICATION MESSAGE FORM
DATE: DECEMBER 6, 1978
FM DIRECTOR, FBI (89-4286)
TO LEGAL ATTACHÉ, BERN (PRIORITY)
US EMBASSY, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA (IMMEDIATE)
PERSONAL ATTENTION SA ROBERT OGLESBY
LEGAL ATTACHÉ, CARACAS (PRIORITY)
FBI, SAN FRANCISCO (PRIORITY)
UNCLAS E F T O
For information of recipients, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Division, has been requested to bring a civil action to recover certain federal funds expended to return bodies of the Jonestown, Guyana, incident to the United States. The DOJ has advised that if such an action is to be brought, various facts concerning the assets and legal status of the Peoples Temple (PT) and its members must be uncovered. DOJ has requested FBI investigation to locate and identify the
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assets of PT.
Numerous media accounts have reported assets of the PT in excess of several million dollars. It is been reported assets of the PT are concealed in numbered accounts in banks in numerous foreign countries which are listed to members of the PT. Among those prominently mentioned as having such an account is PT member Esther Mueller, an elderly, now deceased victim of the Jonestown suicide incident. Assets have been reported to be located at the Royal Bank of Canada, the Barklays [Barclays] Bank of Trinidad, Port-of-Spain, and in an unidentified bank in Switzerland, bank account number 100-468-1, under the name “Briget.”
DOJ is making a determination as to the possibility of freezing the assets of the PT church wherever located.
The legal attaché at Georgetown, Guyana, should insure that in his current review of the evidence obtained from the scene at Jonestown, Guyana, that an accurate list is promptly prepared identifying bank accounts, where located, and in whose name. Sutel this information when list compiled. Also attempt to obtain original documents or copies for forwarding to FBI HQ.
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Legal attaché Bern through appropriate liaison should request investigation as possible to further identifying above-mentioned Swiss bank account. Bern should be aware that there are numerous reports of Swiss bank accounts for PT assets.
Assistant Legal Attaché Caracas should conduct the same inquiry re Barklays Bank, Port-of-Spain, noting investigation by San Juan Office has determined PT fines were transferred from the Royal Bank of Canada to the Barklays Bank for use in purchasing supplies for the Jonestown camp.
San Francisco should, if not already done, determined through the state Attorney General’s office the legal status of the PT in California, i.e., is the PT a corporation or other form of business, under what law was it incorporated or established, its exact official name and when established, the PT’s history before the date it was established and identified for the record its directors, chief officers and incorporators. Also obtain any public documents available which reflect above information.
Legal Attaché at Georgetown, Guyana, should also obtained above information requested of San Francisco from
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appropriate authorities in Guyana.
Additional leads follow.
Note: Above instructs receiving legats and San Francisco to conduct inquiry to identify and locate assets of PT church for possible civil action by DOJ as per departmental letter from Assistant Attorney General Barbara Babcock to Director, FBI undated.