‘The Cult of Debt Forgiveness’

With inequality growing exponentially over the past decades, people around the world have assumed massive debts.

In Indonesia, a mysterious cult with the impressive name Swissindo World Trust International Orbit has attracted a global following for its promise to magically make one’s debts go away. The group is led by Soegihartonotonegoro, a charismatic leader who calls himself M1, and presents himself as a godlike figure who can erase the world’s debt due to a seemingly limitless ancient inheritance. To find out the truth behind this bizarre story, VICE Indonesia correspondent Arzia traveled to visit the Swissindo Headquarters in Cirebon, Indonesia, and interviewed M1, and his followers. We also met with the manager of a local bank that had been targeted by Swissindo for its debt services, and a client of Swissindo’s whose experience with the group was not exactly as anticipated.

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