The Tokyo District Court sentenced a past key Aum Shinrikyo figure to 30 months in prison Friday and fined him 2 million yen for unlicensed sales of skin ointment in 2003 and 2004.
Takashi Inoue, 37, who headed the cult’s Tokyo training center, had pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law.
“It was not fraud. I did not know that it was a pharmaceutical product that requires a license,” Inoue said during the trial.
According to the prosecution, Inoue’s gains from selling some of the medicine by falsely advertising it as not including steroids amounted to 4.15 million yen.
Noda was found guilty in the same court in December of illegally selling the ointment and sentenced to a suspended 18-month prison term. He did not appeal.
While this doesn’t seem on the surface to have any direct connection with the operations of Aum itself (which was disbanded as an organization in 1997 by court order, and whose teachings were carried on by the successor organization Aleph), the snake oil sale hucksterism of the operation is very much in line with Asahara’s pre-Aum activity. Were they inspired by the scams of their former spiritual guru, or did he suggest the idea to them directly while communing in the astral plane from his prison cell?