Suicide of Moon money mule to Uruguay

週刊新潮 Shūkan Shinchō December 19, 1996  pages 48-52

▲ Sun Myung Moon and his wife; a mass wedding in Seoul in 1982

Uruguayan newspaper articles about the suicide of the female member ▲
Mrs. Namiko Motomura ▲

The mystery of the emigration of four thousand people to South America where a female member of the Unification Church committed suicide

❖ Additional information:

Extended introduction

Mrs Namiko Motomura was one of the 4,200 Japanese women who traveled to Uruguay in late 1996 when $80million was deposited into Banco de Credito in one week!

Chicago Tribune  December 8, 1994  by Kerry Luft
It is difficult to gauge the size of the group’s investments. Uruguay is known for the secrecy of its banking system, which has been compared to Switzerland’s. The ownerships of many companies are hidden in anonymous societies, similar to blind trusts.

David Bromley, a Virginia Commonwealth University sociologist specializing in religious movements, [said]. “(Moon) wants to be able to move money around without being tracked, because there are lots of people out there trying to track him.” …

“There’s no question that he has a lot of money and has substantial investments in Korea that made him a wealthy individual in his own right,” said Bromley, co-author of a book on Moon’s church in America.

“Most churches are founded and then create an economic base,” he added. “He has created an economic base first to fund his church, and that’s what causes some suspicion.”

Members of the Unification Church first came to Uruguay in the 1970s as part of a worldwide proselytizing and recruitment program. That has been largely a failure; church membership in Uruguay hovers around 500, and attendance at worship services in Montevideo rarely tops 100, the church source said.

But in mid-1981, money started arriving.

From the “Reputations: Sun Myung Moon, Emperor of the Universe” documentary made by the BBC in 2000.
Narrator: “Moon had spent many millions supporting Republican causes, but the Reagan administration declined to pardon him for his tax offence.”
Michael Hershman (US Congressional Investigator): “Moon was extremely bitter. [He was  in jail in Danbury for 11 months.] Moon decided that he could better grow his organization, better grow his influence, outside our shores.”

Narrator: “In poor Uruguay the army had won a wasting war with Tupamaros guerrillas. The capital, Montevideo, was an off-shore banking center were rich foreigners could hide their cash. For Moon it held other attractions too.”

Michael Hershman: “A friendly legal environment. That is laws and regulations that were not as well developed as here in the United States. A fairly uneducated and poor population who was ready to accept a message of anyone who made promises for a better life.”

Narrator: “Moon called Uruguay his oasis. Today he owns newspapers and sponsors radio programmes that preach family values. As Moon sees it, if only the world would listen, all its problems … would simply vanish.” … “By the late 1980s Moon owned so much property in Montevideo that locals wryly renamed it ‘Moontevideo’. Moonies say that this palatial building was going to be his home, his Latin American sanctuary.

Sun Myung Moon’s mansion in Uruguay

Instead he chose a lush resort on the ocean [at Punta del Este], and a ranch by a river where he could fish. Here he hoped to find peace.” …

Punta del Este ranch

“Moon built Uruguay’s first luxury hotel [The Victoria Plaza Hotel]. He also bought a bank [Banco de Credito]. On one occasion bank employees claimed that 4,000 Japanese Moonies had suddenly showed up, depositing millions of dollars in cash.”

Juan Ramos (Bank Worker’s Association): “The money still had the U.S. Federal Reserve band around it. More than $80 million was deposited over the course of a week.”

Hot Money and the Politics of Debt by Professor R.T. Naylor (economics, McGill University) pp. 152-162
After the crisis of 1981, virtually all Uruguayan banks were forced to borrow from the central bank and to unload bad debts on the public sector. The central bank, in the guise of bolstering the capital of weak banks, intermediated the sale of local institutions to foreign financiers, among them the indomitable Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

The local Moonie chief, Julian Safi, quietly bought up small blocks of stock in the Banco de Credito, the third largest in the country, using funds provided through Kami Ltd, a Moonie-controlled Cayman Islands bank that Bo Hi Pak had established for the sacred purpose of keeping transfers from the prying eyes of the fiscal authorities.

Banco de Credito in Montevideo

The context and timing were ideal. On the one hand, the financial crisis in Uruguay made the government keen to attract foreign capital, particularly to a banking system that generated so much foreign exchange. If that foreign capital came with an ideological bent with which the military government felt highly sympathetic, so much the better.
(a more extended extract from his book is below)

Consortium News, 1998  by Samuel Blixen
 (compiled from two of his articles)
“Rev. Sun Myung Moon first put down roots in Uruguay during the 12-year reign of right-wing military dictators who seized power in 1973. During the 1970s, the anti-communist South Korean religious figure also cultivated close relations with military dictators in Argentina, Paraguay and Chile. Moon reportedly ingratiated himself to the juntas by assisting the military regimes arrange arms purchases and by funnelling money to allied right-wing organizations.

Even in those early years, government investigators recognized that one key to Moon’s success was the surreptitious use of his followers to smuggle money across borders. A 1978 U.S. congressional investigative report found that Moon’s followers had transported large sums of cash into the United States in violation of U.S. currency statutes. …

Moon has invested heavily in media and politics in both North and South America.
In the early 1980s, Moon’s organization was flush with cash. In 1982, Moon launched The Washington Times, a right-wing daily which has cost Moon an estimated $100 million a year in losses. But the newspaper gave Moon’s backers access to the highest levels of the Reagan-Bush administrations and the ability to influence public debate. Moon was a major conservative funder in the United States.

In 1983, back in Uruguay, Moon expanded his South American holdings by purchasing Banco de Credito, one of Montevideo’s leading banks. The price tag was $52 million. Uruguay’s military authorities awarded Moon a quick $8 million profit by buying back $60 million in uncollectible loans from the bank.

When democracy was restored in Uruguay in 1985, Moon’s operations survived by keeping close ties to still-influential military officers and to conservative civilian politicians. They helped Moon fend off opposition from civilian president Julio Maria Sanguinetti and other critics.

Later, Opus Dei, a right-wing international Catholic organization, joined in criticizing Moon’s cult-like church. The Unification Church considers Jesus a failed messiah and Moon the new Chosen One who is destined to rule a one-world theocracy…

But Moon’s deep roots in Uruguayan politics and business proved strong enough to withstand his critics. His bank brushed aside nettlesome questions about money-laundering and other financial irregularities. Moon’s allies – and Uruguay’s secrecy laws – prevented even the powerful Opus Dei from forcing the bank’s financial records into public view.

Through the 1980s, Moon continued to expand his Uruguayan holdings. He bought the elegant-but-faded Hotel Victoria, the Últimas Noticias newspaper, a travel agency and vast tracts of real estate. His big investments in the hotel and newspaper, however, never generated significant profits. The newspaper never achieved strong circulation or advertising revenues. Despite an upgrading to five-star status, the Hotel Victoria never flourished either.

Bank Allegations
Finally, in 1993, Uruguayan Central Bank president Ramon Diaz pushed the long-whispered allegations against Moon’s bank into the parliamentary record. Diaz accused Banco de Credito of violating financial rules, operating at a constant loss, practicing dubious credit policies with insolvent customers and holding inadequate cash reserves.

Diaz demanded that the bank add $30 million in capital within 48 hours or face government intervention. Within hours, panicked customers pulled $10 million in deposits out of the bank. Diaz’s goal of forcing Moon to sell the bank seemed within reach. One senator claimed that Diaz hoped an Argentine investment group would step in and take over the bank.

Moon proved, however, that his seemingly bottomless well of cash could fill the bank’s vaults in a crisis. Before the 48-hour deadline, Moon transferred $30 million into the ailing bank and retained control.

Since then, Moon’s influence has continued to grow in Uruguay, although Banco de Credito continues to suffer chronic financial troubles.

Uruguay’s bank secrecy laws and Moon’s political clout have spared his operations from significant legal action. But the money laundry has drawn periodic attention from government and other investigators in recent years.

In 1996, for instance, the Uruguayan bank employees union blew the whistle on one scheme in which some 4,200 female Japanese followers of Moon allegedly walked into the Moon-controlled Banco de Credito in Montevideo and deposited as much as $25,000 each.

The money from the women went into the account of an anonymous association called Cami II, which was controlled by Moon’s Unification Church. In one day, Cami II received $19 million and, by the time the parade of women ended, the total had swelled to about $80 million. 

It was not clear, however, where the money originated and whether it came from illicit sources. Nor was it known how many other times Moon’s organization has used this tactic – sometimes known as “smurfing” – to transfer untraceable cash into Uruguay.

Authorities did not push the money-laundering investigation, apparently out of deference to Moon’s political influence and fear of disrupting Uruguay’s banking industry.

Despite delivery of mysterious cash from Moon’s followers the bank again has slipped into a deficit estimated at $120 million. The deficit – or “red numbers” in the Spanish jargon – has been blamed largely on credits given to the Rio de la Plata hotel company ($65 million) and to Creditos S.A., a financial institution that was the bank’s first client.

Moon’s investment arm, Rondilcor S.A., also has invested money in privatization projects that have been slow to turn a profit. According to a U.S. State Department cable obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, “the Unification Church has few adherents in Uruguay [but] the church’s hotel ventures are just part of a significant business presence that the church hopes will prove profitable over the long term.”

… But Moon’s money continued to flow into new projects anyway. Embittered by his church’s decline in the United States – where membership reportedly has sunk to 3,000 members – Moon shifted his personal base of operations to a luxurious estate in Uruguay. In the last three years, Moon also bought the ex-Frigorifico Nacional, a cool-storage house; the Astilleros Tsakos dockyard; and other privatized port services. Moon has promised to build containers as well as fishing and chemical ships – and to construct a paper plant.

Nelson Cesin, a reporter for the newsweekly Brecha, has noted that the new acquisitions would allow Moon to move money freely around the world.

Moon himself has announced an ambitious plan for a worldwide transportation and propaganda system. To his followers, he has boasted about plans for building a network of small airstrips throughout South America and other parts of the world, supposedly for tourism. In one speech on Jan. 2, 1996, he even announced a scheme for deploying submarines to evade coastal patrols.
“There are so many restrictions due to national boundaries worldwide,” Moon lamented during the speech, which the Unification Church posted on its internet site. “If you have a submarine, you don’t have to be bound in that way.”

Moon, however, understands that his primary protection comes from the political alliances that his money has bought. In the 1996 speech, Moon added that he “has been practicing the philosophy of fishing here [in Uruguay]. He [Moon] gave the bait to Uruguay and then the bigger fish of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay kept their mouths open, waiting for a bigger bait silently. The bigger the fish, the bigger the mouth. Therefore, Father [Moon] is able to hook them more easily.”

In recent years, Moon also has continued his clandestine cash transfers into the United States. According to court records from a divorce case involving one of Moon’s sons, Hyo Jin, $1 million in cash was carried into the United States in early 1994 by Moon’s followers and delivered to Hyo Jin who ran a Moon-controlled recording studio in New York City.

In an interview, one of Hyo Jin Moon’s top aides, Maria Madelene Pretorious, stated that the cash was circulated through Moon’s business empire in the United States as a way to launder it, before it was dispatched to church projects. …

Other critics have cited Moon’s heavy-handed tactics elsewhere in Uruguay. “The first thing we ought to do is clarify to the people [of Uruguay] that Moon’s sect is a type of modern pirate that came to the country to perform obscure money operations, such as money-laundering,” said Jorge Zabalza, a leader of the Movimiento de Participacion Popular, part of Montevideo’s ruling left-of-center political coalition. “This sect is a kind of religious mob that is trying to get public support to pursue its business.”

But Moon has his defenders in Uruguay, as he does in the United States. Many Uruguayans welcome his investments, the jobs they produce, and his charitable social programs. Moon has called Uruguay his South American “oasis” and has invested an estimated $200 million in the country, with more promised in the future.”

… another senior figure in Moon’s U.S. operations claimed that after Asia slid into an economic downturn in the 1990s, the bulk of Moon’s money began to arrive from South America. [For more details on Moon’s recent activities and history, see iF Magazine, Sept.-Oct. 1997.]

Clearly, Moon’s big-dollar spending on conservative politicians in the United States and South America has helped shield the South Korean theocrat from serious scrutiny. In recent years, Moon’s American beneficiaries have included former President George Bush and Religious Right leader, Jerry Falwell.

But paradoxically, Moon’s banking deficits in Uruguay have given him additional leverage. Uruguayan authorities fear that a major financial bankruptcy could damage the country’s reputation. So, in exchange for “laissez-faire” treatment for his bank, Moon pumps in the necessary cash to keep Banco de Credito afloat.

Still, the ultimate source of Moon’s influence remains his subterranean flow of money, a virtual underground river of cash spewing from a hidden spring whose origin remains the biggest mystery of Moon’s organization. It is that spring which keeps Moon’s Uruguayan “oasis” green and his critics in both North and South America at bay.

On September 18, 1998 the Banco de Credito collapsed and Uruguay’s central bank intervened to seize control of the bank’s management. Uruguay’s bank controller put the bank’s accumulated debt at $161 million. …

The strategy of “cratering” a bank is often associated with organized crime syndicates which quietly take control of financial institutions and siphon off their resources before leaving them as empty shells.

Sen. Luis Eduardo Mallo charged that overall Moon’s companies had taken more than $125 million and had turned the bank into a “cashier for Moon’s enterprises.” One Moon company, the Corporacion Rioplatense de Hoteles S.A., was in debt $96 million.

In the Shadow of the Moons by Nansook Hong (pages 171-173)

“In 1992 Mrs Moon told me I would accompany her on a ten-city tour of Japan. … The worshipful devotion accorded True Mother in Japan was beyond anything I had ever experienced in Korea. I had expected Mrs. Moon to be accommodated with the best hotel suites and the finest food, but what I saw in Japan was beyond pampering. …

Japan could fairly be said to be the site of the first imperial cult. In the nineteenth century, the Japanese emperor was declared a deity and the Japanese people descendants of ancient gods. State Shintoism, abolished by the Allies in 1945 after World War II, required the Japanese to worship their leaders. Obedience to authority and self-sacrifice were considered the greatest virtues.

It was no wonder, then, that Japan was fertile fund-raising ground for a messianic leader like Sun Myung Moon. Eager young Unification Church members found elderly people anxious to ensure that their loved ones came to a peaceful rest in the spirit world. To that end, they fleeced thousands of people out of millions of dollars for religious vases, prayer beads, and religious pictures to guarantee that their deceased family members entered the Kingdom of Heaven. A small jade pagoda could sell for as much as fifty thousand dollars. Wealthy widows were conned into donating all of their assets to the Unification Church to guarantee that their loved ones would not languish in hell with Satan.

It was an extraordinary scene to witness. Church members waited on Mrs. Moon. Church leaders brought her stacks of money. …

Sun Myung Moon explained Japan’s crucial financial relationship to the Unification Church in theological terms. South Korea is “Adam’s country” and Japan is “Eve’s country.” As wife and mother, Japan must support the work of Father’s country, Sun Myung Moon’s Korea. There was more than a little vengeance in this view. Few Koreans, including Sun Myung Moon and his followers in the Unification Church, have ever forgiven the Japanese for their brutal forty-year occupation of Korea.

Members of the family of Sun Myung Moon were thoroughly scrutinized by customs agents whenever leaving Korea or entering the United States. This trip was no exception. One benefit of her enormous entourage was that Mrs. Moon had plenty of traveling companions with whom to enter the country. I was given twenty thousand dollars in two packs of crisp new bills. I hid them beneath the tray in my makeup case. I held my breath in Seattle when customs agents began searching my luggage. I was the last of our party to go through customs, and the woman searching my bags seemed determined to find something. I pretended I did not speak English and could not understand her questions. An Asian supervisor came over and chastised her. “Can’t you see she only speaks Korean,” the supervisor said, smiling at me. “Let her through.”

I knew that smuggling was illegal, but I believed the followers of Sun Myung Moon answered to higher laws. It was my duty to serve without question. I did what I was told, worrying more that I might lose the money than that I might be arrested. I was so grateful to God that they didn’t find the money. In the distorted lens through which I viewed the world, God actually had thwarted the customs agents. God did not want them to find that money because that money was for God.

If I had thought about it with any critical sense, I would have realized that the money raised by street peddlers and pagoda sellers had little to do with God. … ”

The Suicide of a Sun Myung Moon money mule to Uruguay. She had three children.

Shūkan Shinchō:

In Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay in South America, there was an incident were a 38-year-old Japanese woman committed suicide by jumping from the 17th floor of a high-rise hotel. Mrs Namiko Motomura, who died, was a member of the Unification Church. She had been attending a local meeting while on her way to Brazil. To tell the truth, she came here because the Unification Church sent 4,200 Japanese women to South America, and she was one of them. Beside the mass wedding ceremonies, what is the aim of the Unification Church which initiated this large movement of members to South America?

“The first I heard about it was in the evening of December 3. There was a phone call from a person who said they were from the Unification Church. They said, ‘Namiko has been involved in a sudden accident and has apparently died.’ All of a sudden, I did not understand what on earth was going on. I asked for clarification but was only told again and again, ‘I do not know any details yet; she seems to have fallen off a cliff or something.’ ‘Anyway, I want you to go there,’ and that was all. I was confused…” Says the mother of Namiko, who was waiting for news at home in Kagoshima. After receiving the news of the tragedy, Namiko’s father and younger sister rushed to the location with Namiko’s husband.

The incident occurred at around 9:15 on the evening of the 2nd, local time (the time difference was minus 12 hours). Namiko was had fallen, not from a cliff, but from the 17th floor of the Victoria Plaza Hotel in Montevideo, where she was staying. She fell onto a car that had been parked near the entrance and died instantly. Following the autopsy, the police concluded they were almost certain it was suicide.

▲ The Victoria Plaza Hotel in Montevideo where Mrs Namiko Motomura died.

▲ The 24-story convention center and expansion of the Victoria Plaza Hotel. According to the Chicago Tribune, the expansion alone cost about $80million. The hotel also has a casino.

Originally, Namiko entered Uruguay in order to participate in a ‘Sister to Sister Pairing Ceremony’ held in Montevideo on November 24. This was sponsored by the Family Federation for World Peace, which is an affiliate of the Unification Church.

Mr. Masuo Oe, Director of Public Relations for the Unification Church, said: “In the ‘Sister to Sister Pairing Ceremony’ the women of the Family Federation for World Peace are paired to each other to expand the ‘Family Reconstruction Movement.’ It is a ceremony to enable the sisters to build relationships with their companions. The ‘Family Reconstruction Movement’ talks about the love between husband and wife, family bonds and the preciousness of purity, etc. The purpose is also to eliminate adultery, reduce free sex, reduce conflicts within the family, and to restore true family love and peace. We have been holding Sister to Sister Pairing Ceremonies since 1993,”

It seems that there are already 1,700 paired sisters between Japan and Korea, and 18,000 pairs between Japan and the United States. This time, 4,200 Japanese women came to Uruguay for this ceremony and Namiko was one of them.

[ It seems each of them was asked to bring cash with them, totaling about $80million.]

“The seminar began locally on the evening of November 23; the sisterhood ceremony was held on the 24th and the seminar continued until the 30th. The seminar was based on lectures by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and other Unification Church leaders.”

❖ Additional information

From Today’s World February 1997 pp23-24
“We arrived at the Victoria Plaza Hotel at 10:30 a.m. just in time for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new convention center. This new building, which was in the planning and construction stage for the past ten years, is a remarkable contribution to the Uruguayan economy and tourism industry…

Hak Ja Han speaking to women leaders in Montevideo in November 1996

At 3:00 p.m., we took the guests to the Cilindro indoor arena where the first national Uruguayan-Japanese sisterhood ceremony took place. 4,200 Japanese sisters and about 1,000 Uruguayan ladies heard keynote speaker, the Hon. Walter Hickle, former U.S. Governor of Alaska, and other speakers including Dr. Bo Hi Pak, Mrs. Motoko Sugiyama, Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) President of Japan, and several local WFWP representatives.

In the evening, Father (Sun Myung Moon) addressed the workshop guests by skillfully launching into a profound explanation of the poverty that pervades Latin America, the responsibility of the leadership, and particularly the essential need to avoid the example of the United States which has in many cases squandered its blessings and today faces the consequences of years of immorality and indecisiveness. …

The next two days, Dr. Thomas Ward and Steve Boyd gave Divine Principle lectures. It was straight, out-of-the-book, no holds-barred Principle.

Sun Myung Moon speaking at a conference in Montevideo in 1996

On Tuesday evening, Father returned and once again love-bombed everyone. He spoke for two hours and passionately asked everyone to work with him to save their nations.”

Mr. Masuo Oe: “On completion of the seminar, from December 1, the pairs were supposed to be assigned to countries all over South America. But while Mrs Motomura was preparing to head towards Brazil, she committed suicide.”

Namiko Motomura

Since 4,200 Japanese women [carrying about $80million in cash] poured in all at once, not all of them could find hotels in the city. Most of them stayed in the municipal gymnasium, which was the venue for the ceremony. However, Namiko had health problems and had been transferred to the hotel.

“Some of the 4,200 people were overseas for the first time, and some of them got stressed at being in an unfamiliar environment. In that case they were supposed to move to a hotel and see a doctor. There was a group of about twenty at most at the hotel, and Mrs Motomura was one of them. From what I heard, she came to the hotel two days before her suicide, and was in a so-called depressed state,” said a local spokesperson for the Unification Church.

The house where Mrs. Motomura had being staying.
The church which she attended.

She had participated in a mass wedding in Seoul

However, Namiko’s mother is not convinced by this explanation. She said, “I cannot believe it is suicide. When we talked on the phone just before she left to go overseas, everything seemed to be just as usual.”

“I was told that she was going to Brazil when she called around the middle of last month. She said actually she had decided to go alone to Brazil. When she said she was going for one year, I was vehemently opposed to that.

So I told her, ‘what are you doing, leaving your children alone for a year.’ She said I need not worry because after a while, around the New Year or March, her husband was supposed to join her with the children. In the end, no matter how much I opposed her plan, she would not listen. She said that she will absolutely go, so we had to give up trying to persuade her otherwise.”

Her stubborn decision might be understandable if one considers the story of her faith. After graduating from a district high school in Kagoshima, Namiko went to a vocational school and worked for a hairdresser in a local beauty parlor where she was resident. While there, she joined the Unification Church. In 1982 she participated in the 6000 couple mass wedding ceremony held in Seoul, Korea. She was married to Sergio Uemura Toshikazu (40), a Japanese Brazilian.

“Of course I objected to the marriage. But finally I accepted their marriage, thinking if he liked her then it couldn’t be helped,” said her mother, reflecting on the past.

“After she got married, she immediately went to Brazil. They were overseas for five or six years. Then suddenly one day I got a phone call from Mie Prefecture. They said they had returned to Japan to live in Yokkaichi. The story was that they were working at an auto parts company in Yokkaichi. There were people who had come from Brazil to work, and it seems they were working as interpreters in their own business. During this time, they had three children. Then about a year ago, they quit the company. After that Namiko worked as an insurance sales representative, and her husband, Mr Toshikazu, started his own business delivering meat.”

Meanwhile, her parents took every opportunity to advise Namiko to get out of the Unification Church. “Especially during the last two or three years there has been a commotion about the Unification Church on television and in the magazines. I thought I could not let her remain a member any longer and told her so many times. But she kept saying that the stories on TV were ridiculous, and she didn’t listen to us at all.

I have no choice now, but if I had spoken to her more strongly such a thing would not have happened…. Even then, suicide does not make sense. Maybe there was something to do with the church.” Understandably, her mother is overcome with grief.

Mr. Kazuyoshi Noro took care of the couple. He was the head of the Unification Church in Mie and lived in Yokkaichi.

He held his head on one side and said, “This incident is very bizarre. Mrs. Motomura had a long history of faith and was well aware that suicide was against the teachings. Mrs Motomura and her husband had a good relationship and were said to be an ‘exemplary couple.’ They were also fervent about their faith and attended worship every week without fail. It is really impossible for such a person to commit suicide. I have never heard any stories about neurosis or mental instability.”

Almost all are married female members

So, what did happen to Namiko? “I don’t know the cause of her suicide, but in fact, the proportion of suicides within the Unification Church is considerable,” says a journalist who is familiar with the Unification Church problem.

“All responsibility for any stagnation in religious activities is attributed to the individual member. Members must suppress their natural human emotions and desires, and they are repeatedly exposed to the pressures of God’s providence. Consequently there are quite a few cases where the mind and body become divided and the members get into a state of neurosis.”

In particular, for this trip to South America, it is impossible to overlook the fact that most of the 4,200 female members were married.

This was pointed out by Pastor Keiko Kawasaki of the United Church of Christ in Japan who is counseling members of the Unification Church to leave.

▲ Pastor Keiko Kawasaki

“This time the married women who have traveled to South America will be thinking of their children every day. If they have left a family behind in Japan and they hear they have been injured or are sick, they will want to fly home. Mentally they will always feel cornered and they are also in a state of physical fatigue.

Both the mind and body are pushed to an extremely unhealthy state over long periods of time. And if the mind is weakened, they may not consciously understand what is going on, and the mind can snap. You can understand that in this disconnected state, being vigorously encouraged to do missionary and economic activities, mental confusion can develop.”

There is no guarantee that a second or a third Namiko will not emerge. But why are only married women sent to South America?

Pastor Kawasaki continues, “Because children are not able to move along with the plans of Sun Myung Moon, they are useless to the Unification Church. It might have been good to be blessed together at a mass wedding ceremony, but when the wife’s belly grew bigger they could not be on the front line. I suppose they are forcing such women back onto the front line. It would be impossible for the mother to work alongside their children, so they send the mothers alone to South America to work.”

The name of the organization might be the Family Federation for World Peace, but it may be said that it is doing the opposite by destroying the peace of the family.

“The Family Federation for World Peace, under the cover of the name, betrays groups and sends married women to foreign countries in a haphazard and irresponsible manner. The destination is decided by Amida lottery [an oriental lottery method for making random pairings]. They are told to leave their children behind. This is too much. We have already received about ten consultations concerning parents who have left their children behind with grandparents.

There was a case where both the grandparents were not well, but their daughter suddenly left for South America. She pushed two young children onto her parents. There was another a case where a mother brought her three month old baby home to her parents and left the following morning. The grandparents found a letter which explained “because I had to go to South America.” (Pastor Kawasaki)

The fundamental behavior of the Unification Church, which was once said to be “the Principle Movement of crying parents” has not changed one bit.
[Principle Movement = Unification Church of Japan]

Decline due to loss of sources of income

In recent years in the Unification Church, as a background to the mass migration of followers to South America, there seems to have been a painful problem concerning the financial situation of the church [in Japan].

“It is said that church funds have plummeted since the scandal of the Spiritual Sales. [Marble vases and marble pagodas, etc., were pressure sold to the Japanese members and the public for incredible prices, as means to liberate sinful ancestors who were allegedly ‘stuck in hell’. Sicknesses were blamed on ‘bad’ ancestors.] The church income is now about a tenth of what it was [before the scandal].

▲ Some of the items sold in Japan during the Spiritual Sales scandal. Top right is a Buddha statue connected with the Tenchi-Seikyō scam.

Since the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack incident in Tokyo it has also become more difficult to do missionary work and recruit new members. Sun Myung Moon decided, all of a sudden, to shift the base of economic activity from Japan to South America,” said a former member.

“Since the 1980s the Unification Church [and its CAUSA project] had already established a foothold for advancement there. In Uruguay they [bought one newspaper, Noticias del Uruguay and established another] newspaper [Últimas Noticias] and acquired banks [Banco de Credito], marble factories and [two of the largest] printing businesses. [They also bought the largest publishing house in Uruguay, Editorial Polo; a restaurant and a meat-packing plant.] The hotels where the members have stayed this time were bought early on.

❖ Additional information

Global Policy Forum: The Unification Church is said to be building another casino in a tourist resort near the Argentine border. Its large Uruguayan holdings also include the Corporation Rioplatense de Hoteles S.A. and Hotel Horacio Quiroga.

Consortium News: Moon also bought the ex-Frigorifico Nacional, a cool-storage house; the Astilleros Tsakos dockyard and other privatized port services; a travel agency and vast tracts of real estate.

In that country it is not illegal to set up a company with 100% foreign capital, so they could just throw in the funds they had collected. And now they are finally starting to hit by sending members.”

A former journalist says Uruguay is not alone. There is also capital investment in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, etc.

The 4,200 female members who were sent to Uruguay this time were divided into teams of 120 people. Their power was scattered over 35 countries in three different areas, namely North, Central and South America.

The aforementioned journalist says, “I think that Sun Myung Moon has finally begun to implement his “Sao Paulo Declaration.” In March 1995 Sun Myung Moon was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he said: “I am moving the foundation of the Unification Church to South America. My aim is to unify the religion, language, economy and science of North and South America.” This is his delusional vision.

Now that all activities in the Philippines have been forbidden and Moon’s entry into the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries became virtually impossible and activities in Japan became difficult, Sun Myung Moon’s strategy is to send members to a new place. The only thing to say is that it is a ridiculous fantasy.”

One big event which is planned is a mass wedding of 360,000 couples scheduled to be held in Washington, DC on Wednesday, November 29th next year.

The Unification Church side explained,
“We are going to gather 80,000 people at the Kennedy Stadium and relay it to the 185 nations of the world by satellite broadcast and make it a worldwide mass wedding. The women who complete the seminar [in Uruguay] are supposed to invite people to this mass wedding ceremony while doing volunteer work in their respective countries.”
(Mr. Oe, UC Public Relations Manager)

As he speaks, he puffs out his chest. But whether such a large project goes according to plan is open to question.

“It means the Unification Church is now finally in a state of death,” remarks a former believer rather indifferently.

“In the end, the Unification Church’s greatest and only source of funding was Japan. The members themselves know that the best. If Japan is abandoned and many members are forced to move, the decline of the church is inevitable.”

It is strange that there are believers who still have not woken up, even after the church has got to this situation.

❖ Additional information

In December 2005, while on tour Moon returned to visit Uruguay and on that occasion he met with President Tabaré Vázquez, with whom he took photographs.

During that tour, the then Argentine president, Néstor Kirchner, refused to receive Moon.

(Últimas Noticias newspaper closed in 2012. In September workers were negotiating for unpaid wages.)

extracts from a Washington Post article dated August 28, 1983

Moon’s ‘Cause’ Takes Aim At Communism in Americas

By Joanne Omang

An arm of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, a group called “Causa,” or “cause” in Spanish, is pumping millions of dollars into an anti-communist organizing effort throughout the United States and in much of Central and South America.

Offering free seminars, international trips and conferences around the region to decision makers, journalists and local leaders, Causa International and its subsidiary, Causa USA, have also invested in newspapers and printing companies and in a Uruguayan bank, broadcasting station and other businesses.

The group’s president is retired South Korean Col. Bo Hi Pak, chief aide to Moon, and its executive director is Warren S. Richardson, formerly chief counsel to the Liberty Lobby. President Reagan nominated Richardson to be an assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services in 1981, but Richardson withdrew amid charges that the Liberty Lobby is racist and anti-Semitic.

Causa seeks to promote a philosophy called “God-ism,” which Causa officials say is an alternative set of ideas for people likely to be tempted by communism. Although usually – but not always – openly financed and led by followers of Moon, Causa claims to be completely ecumenical and to have plans to put non-members of the Unification Church in leadership jobs.

Causa started as the Confederation of Associations for the Unity of the Societies of the Americas (CAUSA), but the original emphasis on the Americas soon proved too narrow. There was so much interest in Europe and other parts of the world that the original name was dropped and just the acronym retained, Causa USA director Joe A. Tully said.

Founded in New York in 1980, Causa has had a rocky time in Brazil, where only police intervention prevented mobs from destroying Unification churches in nine cities; and in Honduras and El Salvador, where Roman Catholic Church leaders denounced Causa as anti-Christian for its links to Moon.

But in Uruguay, Paraguay and Guatemala and in 18 other nations, Causa literature says, Causa operations are thriving despite opposition from the Catholic Church, to which the vast majority of Latin Americans belong.

Causa apparently has had its greatest success in Uruguay. In March, 1981, Pak met in Montevideo, the capital, with top government officials, including then-President Aparicio Mendez, the vice president and the interior minister. Causa then founded a newspaper, Noticias del Uruguay, and won the right in a secret auction to build a casino and a luxury hotel, according to later newspaper accounts.

A minor scandal erupted in the Uruguayan press that summer over the award of the casino rights, which violated Uruguayan gambling laws. According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) newsletter of Nov. 3, 1981, the new president, Gregorio Alvarez, defended the award to Causa and said, “With respect to the fight against communism, it is obvious that we think alike.”

By the end of 1981, Causa was authorized to set up an FM and medium-wave radio station in Canelones for broadcast to Montevideo and launched a second newspaper, Ultimas Noticias, in September. It also bought the largest publishing house in Uruguay, Editorial Polo; a restaurant and a meat-packing plant; and it now owns the country’s biggest luxury hotel, the Victoria Plaza, according to The Latin American Newsletter of Jan. 29, 1982.

In 1982, Causa won a controlling interest of the Banco de Credito, Uruguay’s third-largest national bank, and press reports said Causa had put $50 million into the bank purchase effort.

“They bought newspapers, they bought real estate, they bought generals, they bought out the country,” said a Reagan administration official who was there at the time. “There was a big stink about it.”

On April 8, 1983 Honduras’ Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops denounced Causa and the Unification Church, issuing a pastoral letter prohibiting priests and lay workers and “anyone who wishes to remain Catholic” from taking part or encouraging any involvement in Causa or any other Unification Church operation.

The Unification Church, the letter said, is “truly anti-Christian” and produces “a species of material and spiritual slavery.”

“It is very probable that until now, Causa has not here manifested its moral and religious danger. But given its tactics, when this happens it could be too late for many,” the bishops’ letter said.

“The Catholic church was so powerful it saved us,” said a leading industrialist in San Pedro Sula. “If it hadn’t been for them, the Moonies would own Honduras by now.”

Was money sent to Uruguay from the News World / The New York Tribune?

The Tiffany Building at 401 Fifth Avenue was used, and maybe also owned, by the Unification Church / FFWPU. It housed The New York Tribune newspaper. An Il Hwa restaurant, another UC business, can be seen in this photo.

The first issue of News World was published in New York City on December 31, 1976. On this occasion, Sun Myung Moon said, “We must create a newspaper company that can spread the word about universal justice in God’s name.” This newspaper reported, before the end of the presidential election in 1979, that the Republican presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan, had won. It changed its name to the New York City Tribune on April 4, 1983.

It has been alleged that the leadership at The New York Tribune misused money. This was uncovered by a senior member. Apparently $1million was being given to the paper every month, but only about a quarter of that was being used for the Tribune payroll, etc. It was said that money was taken down to Uruguay. Apparently there was a meeting of the Tribune senior management at which the financial situation was explained – and that because of a lack of cash, the paper would have to close. Reportedly there was a lot of shouting, but the paper closed on January 3, 1991.

These details have not been confirmed by the former staff of the Tribune, or by News World Communications, Inc.
However, the arrival of undocumented cash in Uruguay has been confirmed by numerous sources (see above).
A “new” New York Tribune debuted in 1976 in New York City. It was published by News World Communications, Inc., owned by the Unification Church. It was published in the former Tiffany and Company Building until it printed its last edition on January 3, 1991. Its sister paper, The Washington Times, is circulated primarily in the nation’s capital. The Tribune carried an expansive “Commentary” section of opinions and editorials. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was one of the columnists.

The original Japanese text:
統一教会女性信者が自殺した 「四千人」南米大移働の謎

“Japan. Wow! My eyes were opened.” A huge UC scam in Japan is revealed.

Shocking video of UC of Japan demanding money

Moon personally extracted $500 MILLION from Japanese sisters in the fall of 1993. He demanded that 50,000 sisters attend HIS workshops on Cheju Island and each had to pay a fee of $10,000.

Illegal, church-organized high-pressure sales scheme

Japan High Court judge upholds “UC used members for profit, not religious purposes”. This has serious ramifications.

The ‘True Father’ who could not forgive: “I haven’t been able to release my grudge towards Japanese people yet.” November 2011

“Reputations: Sun Myung Moon, The Emperor of the Universe” documentary transcript

Hot Money and the Politics of Debt  (pages 152-162)
by R.T. Naylor, professor, economics, McGill University and the author of many books, including Economic Warfare: Sanctions, Embargo Busting, and Their Human Cost, and Bankers, Bagmen, and Bandits: Business and Politics in the Age of Greed.

“In the US the Moon cult prospered. Indeed, the vigor with which the cult expanded in the US may not be completely unrelated to problems that befell it in South Korea.

In 1977, one year after the notorious “Koreagate” scandal in the US, the South Korean regime decided to disassociate itself partially from the sect, which had become somewhat of an embarrassment.

The South Korean authorities leveled a number of charges of fiscal fraud against the management of Moonie-controlled enterprises.

The sect responded by creating the Unification Church International…The target was the Diplomat National Bank of Washington. The sect and the Korean CIA (which used the bank as a conduit for covert funding) eventually attracted 53% of the stock – and the attention of American bank regulators over attempts to hide ownership and over apparent infractions of lending regulations.

Through Diplomat National Bank the Moonies broke into the newspaper business in the US and around the world…The Moonies’ penetration of Central and South America thereafter assumed a new energy. …

Despite such successes abroad and President Reagan’s endorsement at home, the Moon organization had its problems. Like the Vatican’s a decade and a half earlier, its tax-free status was being threatened. In 1981 the New York State Supreme Court ruled it more a business than a church, hardly a startling finding given that annual gross revenues from Moonie global businesses were then apparently topping $500 million. The township in which much of Moonie property was located sued for back taxes, and other lawsuits followed. In 1982, Moon was personally convicted of tax fraud, perjury, conspiracy involving false documents, and obstruction of justice.

While Moon’s lawyers appealed the verdict and kept the case before the courts for another two years, danger signals prompted the “church” to move its financial headquarters to more hospitable climes. Their choice proved to be that of the Latin America headquarters of Lucio Gelli’s P-2, and one of the principle havens through which Opus Dei’s protege Ruiz Mateo had moved money spirited out of Spain.

Uruguay is often referred to as the Switzerland of the Americas…Granted, Uruguay’s political violence in the 1960’s and 1970’s, its long and only recently altered status as a military dictatorship, and its prostrate economy are remarkably un-Swiss. But it does have a freewheeling banking system that operated as a laundromat for drug money and is still the most important South American depository for flight capital and tax evaders’ funds.

Hot money has long sought sanctuary in Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo – or Moon-tevideo, as it is now sometimes called. Uruguay was a major American stop on the escape route Licio Gelli created for Fascist family fortunes escaping Italy after the war, and many a European family gold hoard wound up in exile there…Uruguay offers bank secrecy laws sufficiently appealing that, in 1971, the US narcotics bureau found Uruguay to be a pivot of financial operations associated with the French Connection heroin route. But Uruguay blossomed as a peekaboo financial center after a military coup in 1973.

The coup followed a sharp deterioration of economic circumstances in the 1960’s and a civil war between the army and the Tupamaros urban guerrilla organization. The polarization provided an opportunity for major French heroin traffickers in Uruguay, who bought the protection of Uruguayan military intelligence by infiltrating the Tupamaros, promising them arms while informing the Uruguayan military about their activities… Uruguay became a major American center for tourism and gambling and a refuge for fiscal flight capital.

This was a hot-money bonanza too rich to be ignored. Between 1973 and 1983…twenty of Uruguay’s twenty-two banks fell into the hands of foreign investors…

After the crisis of 1981, virtually all Uruguayan banks were forced to borrow from the central bank and to unload bad debts on the public sector. The central bank, in the guise of bolstering the capital of weak banks, intermediated the sale of local institutions to foreign financiers, among them the indomitable Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

The local Moonie chief, Julian Safi, quietly bought up small blocks of stock in the Banco de Credito, the third largest in the country, using funds provided through Kami Ltd, a Moonie-controlled Cayman Islands bank that Bo Hi Pak had established for the sacred purpose of keeping transfers from the prying eyes of the fiscal authorities.

The context and timing were ideal. On the one hand, the financial crisis in Uruguay made the government keen to attract foreign capital, particularly to a banking system that generated so much foreign exchange. If that foreign capital came with an ideological bent with which the military government felt highly sympathetic, so much the better. President and former commander in chief Gregorio Alvarez (a member of Gelli’s P-2) defended the Moonie encroachment as a matter of religious freedom. “Also, we share their ideas as people involved in the struggle against communism.” As the Moonies were under siege elsewhere, particularly by the American tax authorities, and as they had targeted the Americas, particularly the southern parts under military dictatorship, for intensive proselytizing, Uruguay was the ideal financial headquarters.

Eschewing evangelism to avoid conflict with the local church hierarchy, they concentrated their Uruguayan activities on making money and influencing the right people. By 1983 it was estimated that Moonie investments in Uruguay totaled about $100 million. They had acquired the third-largest bank, the largest hotel, and local distribution facilities for Moonie-produced goods from all over the world; French jewelry, canned tuna, porcelain vases from Taiwan, and Korean ginseng and weapons. They also owned two local printing companies and prime real estate. In 1983 they began planning a new forty-one-story hotel and conference center. The military government contributed a declaration that the hotel complex was of “national interest” and therefore exempt from import duties. The military also assisted them with tax breaks and public advertising revenues in their takeover and operation of one of the three local newspapers.

The Moonies reciprocated by conducting pro military and anti-“Communist” propaganda, just when the Uruguayan population was demanding, sometimes in mass street demonstrations, democratization of political institutions; the military government responded with more repression.”

Rev. Moon’s Uruguayan Money-Laundry – by Samuel Blixen

Rev. Moon’s 1998 Uruguay Bank Scam – by Samuel Blixen

Unification Church forecast to survive as an economic rather than religious group

Chicago Tribune – Unification Church Invests Heavily In Uruguay 1994

Washington Post – Moon’s ‘Cause’ Takes Aim At Communism in Americas

The Moonies have landed – The Economist

National REPORT – The decline of the Moon Group in Uruguay SPANISH

El declive del Grupo Moon en Uruguay

VIDEO: Negocio y religión: el grupo Moon en Uruguay

The Moons relaxing on the beach at Punta del Este, Uruguay