The Swiss Bank of Weinland
In January of 2003, Ronald Weinland traveled to Zurich, Switzerland to open bank accounts investing in euros and Swiss francs. (Hyperlinks for iPod and iPad users who can’t access Flash)
Jan 4, 2003 (mp3)… That’s why we’re going, as I mentioned last sabbath, that’s why I’m going to Switzerland next week, two weeks. To put monies in the church over there, into Swiss francs and into euros, to give us time. There’s going to be a period of time where we’re going to be able to continue function. I’m going to tell more when we come to the sermon about Two Witnesses about why we’re going to do some of that even more so.
Could this be a picture of the bank he chose? This bank is located in Rheinau, about 10 miles north of Zurich’s airport. Why would he chose this bank housed in a rather plain building? Raiffeisenbank Weinland is located in Zürcher Weinland — I’ll let you ponder that for a bit.
May 24, 2003 (mp3) There are times when I – I marvel. I marvel at how fast the euro has grown. I marvel at about what economists are saying it’s going to do this year We put a tidy sum over in Europe for a purpose and for a reason because of what’s coming, to continue on in the church. To continue to support or to give. Whatever God leads us to give at that time. And we’re going to put more over there now. Because the chief economists in this country are saying right now that we’re just beginning this process of seeing the Euro grow in strength and power. Do you know where it is to this day? We’ve already made around 25, 30 thousand dollars in a few month’s time, just by putting that money over there. Astounding. Astounding. We should’ve put a lot more in. (Chuckles) But that’s what it’s all about. Not just helping us to prepare for things in the future that ought to shock you that this dollar is going down the tubes
The previous statement is from his sermon delivered in Portland, Oregon before a live audience of fewer than two dozen people (some of whom traveled great distances to see their spiritual idol). Weinland never put a copy off this sermon on his web site and did not send out cassette tapes as he normally did. If Weinland invested $290,000 in euros at $1.06/euro in January of 2003, then in May of 2003 at $1.17/euro that investment would be worth $25,000 more. Or if he invested $300,000 at $0.72/Swiss franc in January then in May at $0.78/Swiss franc that investment would be worth $25,000 more. So it seems that no matter how he allocated the funds between euros and Swiss francs, he put around a third of a million dollars in the Swiss accounts and certainly more than the $200,000 he mentioned on Dec 28, 2002. As a reminder, it is not illegal to have a Swiss bank account. What is illegal is failing to report to the US government your foreign accounts over which you have signature authority by June 30 of the year following, should the balance of all your foreign accounts exceed $10,000 at any time during the year. Which is obviously the case regarding Weinland’s accounts, but it is not known whether he filed his FBAR forms as required to report his accounts. Each of us will have to assess for ourselves how likely it is that he did comply with the requirement.
Oct 21, 2008 (mp3): We have some monies in Europe that are set aside. I’m just going to be real blunt with everybody. Because there are those who find fault with us, in the world. And even with our government. OK. That we are doing things in a certain way and we always have because everything we do is about God’s church. OK. So much so that we have tried to diversify various things. We put money in Europe a long time ago, several years ago. In Switzerland. And we intend to use it. Or in Switzerland or somewhere. God’s Two Witnesses. We started putting money there before I knew that’s what it was all about, and what was going to take place.
Weinland has claimed a membership of 300 for several years prior to 2008. If we estimate his revenue from each member at $2000 per year considering tithes and offerings, that works out to a total of $600,000 per year. Church operations would not use much of this, considering that only a few locations meet regularly in rented facilities. The costs to operate a website and provide Internet streaming audio and mail out cassette tapes are minimal. The rental of a facility for the Feast of Tabernacles could be costly but would be reduced according to the number of people who rent rooms in the hotel. I find it quite plausible that he could accumulate such a fund. I also understand that there was a special fundraiser to initially fund these accounts. I wonder if he had someone as a second signature on the accounts, maybe Laura? Or Audra, COG-PKG bookkeeper? Or maybe even Jeremy, who now lives in Germany. But you have to wonder: Why would the end-time Two Witnesses with special witness powers need a Swiss bank account?