The Church of Scientology guilty of fraud.
The appeal court in Paris sentenced, Thursday, Feb. 2, two French entities of Scientology to 600,000 euro fine for “organized fraud“ in a case unprecedented in American group.
The main French official, Alain Rosenberg , was sentenced to two years suspended sentence and 30,000 euro fine, prison sentences were suspended, and fines were issued against three other officials.
The trial was cut short in November due to the departure of the defendants and their lawyers, speaking of “court of inquisition.” This judgment confirms the judgment of first instance which had seen such legal persons of the Church of Scientology hit of 600,000 euro fine in October 2009.
The prosecution accused the two main structures of the French Scientology – the spiritual association of the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre and its bookshop SEL – and five Scientologists to have taken advantage of the vulnerability of their former followers to elicit strong money. She asked that the fines are “not inferior” to a million and 500,000 euros against the Celebrity Centre and the SEL, but no prohibition of exercise .
This is the first time that French justice wrote in a judgment that the activities of Scientologists are themselves a company of fraud. So far, only natural persons, officials of Scientology, had been convicted in France in other cases.
Created in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard , Scientology currently claims 12 million followers in one hundred and fifty countries, including forty-five thousand in France. It presents as a help and a “liturgy” what is legally termed methods of fraud: recruitment tests, treatments of “purification” with saunas or cures vitamins, jogging and intensive use of the “electrometer”, emblematic device the organization described as “liturgical”. Item uncontested, these practices are heavily charged, the complainants of the French bid – vulnerable people recruited in the street and convinced by a “personality test” – have all had to pay heavy sums.
The American organization had conducted a guerrilla war in vain for proceduralattempt to make derail the appeal hearing, raising fifteen points, including ten priority issues of constitutionality (QPC). All these arguments were rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Dozens of Scientologists gathered Thursday at midday in front of the courthouse in Paris, to protest against the condemnation of Scientology Paris for “organized fraud”. “No discrimination for Scientologists,” chanted the participants , by banging on drums. They wore signs proclaiming “I am entitled to my religion,” “No to a heresy trial”, “No to justice under the influence”.
- French court upholds Scientology fraud conviction (vancouversun.com)
- Church of Scientology Nashville Launches its 2012 Seminar Program (prweb.com)
- At Least the French Know Scientology is a Cult (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Scientology figure charged again (news.smh.com.au)
- Church of Scientology Acquires Hollywood Studio Facility (prweb.com)