#Ongoing trial of former Aum Shinrikyo Russian members:
Dmitri Sigachev and others
December 16th, 2001
(1) Details within our knowledge
<1> In March of 2001, Joyu and Matsuo, members of Aleph, received
emails from former Aum Shinrikyo Russian followers. In the emails they
reported that a former Aum Shinrikyo Russian follower named Sigachev was
likely to have committed a crime and they asked us to persuade him to
keep away from crimes. At this point, we started contacting Dmitri Sigachev.
<2> In April of 2000, Matsuo and other Aleph members flew in Czech
Republic, where they met with Sigachev and tried to dissuade him everyday
for fortnight. They questioned him about his rumored involvement in the
acts of theft and arms purchase, including a plot to get back former Aum
Shinrikyo leader Shoko Asahara who is under police custody in Japan. Sigachev
responded in a very much incoherent way, giving them an impression of
insanity, sufficient enough to make them feel that he might have uttered
meaningless words from illusion.
Having confessed to diverting Mr. I*'s money to his own purpose, Sigachev
insisted that he spent it primarily for investing in trading with Japan
and that the weapons he had bought were through lawful procedures and
only intended for self-protection. As he knew, he said, that engaging
in unlawful activities were not Mr. Asahara's intension, he promised to
discard the weapons. As for the rumored plot to rescue Mr. Asahara, however,
they could not know how much he meant it because what he said changed
(* Mr. I was a former high-profile member of Aum Shinrikyo. Please refer
to his comment here)
No matter whatever Sigachev urged, they did not stop discouraging him
from committing crimes throughout the meetings and at the last moment
they managed to have him swear in writing with his signature to give up
the idea of resorting to unlawful activities as follow:
"I, Shuten Myo-o, understand that all Seitaishis and Seigoshi at
Aum Shinrikyo, or Aleph, in Japan are against illegal activities. I shall
not do any illegal activities, based on what I was told by those attainers
at Aum. 2000 13/IV Dmitry Sigachev/Shuten Myo-o/"
<3> In the meantime, we emailed to former Aum Shinrikyo Russian
followers including Sigachev never to engage in unlawful activities. Also
we sent to them a message that they should make their utmost effort to
settle the Sigachev problem on their side as well. Please refer to some
of the emails in the Appendix below.
<4> After a while, other former Russian followers in Vladivostok,
Russia, who was acting along with Sigachev to get information informed
us that he did not change the way he thinks at all and had a hidden intension
to outsmart us. They then informed FSB or former KGB in Vladivostok, they
said, of Sigachev 's illegal purchasing of weapons etc. In response to
this, the authorities undertook an investigation and put Sigachev's group
under their surveillance.
<5> Coming back from Czeck Republic, Matsuo tried to keep in touch
with Sigachev by email with an intention to continue dissuasion. His trials
however mostly did not work. During the course, he received an email from
Sigachev, saying that they were not members of Aleph.
<6> In June of 2001, a former Aum Shinrikyo follower in Russia
who was familiar with Sigachev group's activities informed us of their
planning to come to Japan. In response to this we requested police and
immigration control authorities to reject his entering Japan.
(1)Joyu informed the public security authorities that a former Aum Shinrikyo
Russian follower who seemed to approve the idea of resorting to crimes
was likely to enter Japan soon. Also he requested the authorities concerned
to reject his entrance into Japan and to watch out his behaviors. (At
this moment, the rumor of Sigachev's past crime and their plot to rescuing
Mr. Asahara was still to be confirmed and therefore Joyu had to avoid
(2) Matsuo and other Aleph members went to the Immigration Control Office
in Niigata (the largest city along the coast of the Japan Sea where Sigachev
was most likely to enter) and requested for the rejection of Sigachev's
entrance into Japan. The officers in charge, however, mistook Matsuo as
saying that they came all the way to keep some foreigners off Japan. They
put Matsuo and the others under their surveillance and questioned them
closely; while allowing Sigachev to enter Japan as if he had nothing suspicious
or illegal about himself.
(3) As far as we know, the MPD's Public Safety Department responded to
our request and sent officers to Niigata. While trailing him from his
entrance, they questioned Sigachev for many times. As a result of their
effort in persistent persuasion, Sigachev went out of Japan in three days.
In the meantime, Aleph members kept watching Sigachev with vigilance.
<7> After returning to Russia, Sigachev was arrested by the Russian
police authority, which was worked on assiduously by former Russian followers.
Sigachev's entry into Japan triggered the former Russian followers' action
upon the police. They reported about his group to the police over and
over again and, once the police mobilized, they cooperated with them in
In July, we were informed that the Russian police arrested Sigachev and
his fellows and found weapons with them.
<8> Since it first reported to the Japan's Security Authorities,
Aleph has been providing and exchanging necessary information concerning
Sigachev's group. Aleph will be providing relevant information when necessity
<9> On Sigachev's arrest, we requested to the Immigration Control
Department of Justice Ministry through the Public Security Investigation
Agency for banning the reentrance of his group members. This request was
* Those who were wanted by the Russian authorities on this case were by
now all in custody of the police. If found guilty, they are very likely
to be sentenced to long-term imprisonment. So in reality the chances that
they will enter Japan again is very small and at least at this moment
there is no danger of this kind at all.
<10> In this summer we were requested an interview for evidence
to support the investigation by the Russian authority through the Tokyo
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Although we are not suspects, since
we have been requested for cooperation by the MDP, we had an interview
and handed in a written report.
<11> Since this fall, to prevent repetition of the incident, Japanese
followers of Aleph have been staying in Russia to guide and instruct former
Russian followers according to the Aleph's platform that it disapproves
of any members engaging in any unlawful activities and cooperates in compensating
for damages caused by Aum Shinrikyo-related incidents. We included the
account of our guidance activity in Russia in a regular report submitted
to the Public Security Investigation Agency.
<12> During the testimony of his trial sessions in Russia, Sigachev
said that he, on his own decision, had diverted Mr. I's money for business
into the crime. This proved Mr. I and Aleph innocent of this case.
<13> Aleph is always ready to offer testimony in the trial sessions.
We, together with the former Russian followers who reported Sigachev's
group to the authorities, are considering testifying in their trial sessions
to back up the evidence to this case, to change their ways of thinking
and thus to help them feel sorry for what they did. We are currently exchanging
opinions with Russian authorities on this matter.
(2) Aleph's comment
As it has explained above, Aleph had nothing to do with this case at
all. Nor did it even know that Mr. I, a former Aum Shinrikyo high-profile
member, invested in Russia. However, after it knew what happened, Aleph
took every possible preventive measure such as dissuading Sigachev and
also cooperating with investigative authorities both in Japan and in Russia.
It is our deep regret that former Aum Shinrikyo Russian followers committed
a crime like this. We also feel sorry that although we knew Sigachev was
entering Japan, we not only failed to prevent him, but were suspected
to the contrary.
As it has already stated many times, Aleph heartily disapproves of any
crimes including forcefully rescuing Mr. Asahara and terror attacks.
From now on, with its remaining influence over former Russian followers
of Aum Shinrikyo, Aleph is determined to make this policy well understood
and followed by them and to strengthen its cooperation with investigative
and judicial authorities to prevent the repetition of the crimes.
Last, but not lease, Aleph expresses its deep gratitude to former Russian
followers of Aum Shinrikyo and investigative authorities on both Russia
and Japan sides for their assiduous efforts in solving the matter.
Appendix: Information from Mr. I, former high-ranking member of Aum
*Mr. I, who is not a member of Aleph and only keeps in touch with some
of us privately, requested us to provide the following information in
the press conference.
Let me explain how I came to invest into Russia. When I had to be financially
on my own for reasons related to my family, there was a business opportunity
with Mr. D, a former Russian member of Aum Shinrikyo. I met him and his
colleague Sigachev in a country other than Japan and Russia and made an
investment. In March of 2000, when I heard from Mr. D that Sigachev had
diverted my invested finance to crimes, I soon reported this to Aleph
and emailed to Sigachev to oppose committing crimes.
In those days, as I had to be financially on my own very quickly, I was
pressed by the situation where no job was available for a former Aum Shinrikyo
leader like me and ended up investing into Russia. I feel very sorry for
the consequences. Because I trusted Mr. D, I did not suspect Sigachev
at all for that matter. Much less did I imagine that things would end
up like this.
I am also sorry for causing trouble to those who contributed their finance
to me. They did not even know that I invested their donation into Russia.
I do not approve of Sigachev's unlawful activities and nor was I involved
in it at all. This is being proved by the testimonies of Sigachev and
others in their recent trial sessions as well as in the investigation
by the Russian authorities.
Lastly, I think the Russian authorities have confiscated the money left
after diversion. I want to utilize it as a token of my innocence, for
compensation to the victims and bereaved family members in the Aum Shinrikyo-related