'Cult' leader now a psychologist
November 20, 2010
A WOMAN accused of being a ''cult leader'' and claiming she was from the ''bloodline of Jesus Christ'' is working as a government-employed psychologist on the Gold Coast.
Natasha Lakaev, founder of northern NSW new age ''company'' Universal Knowledge, is working for Queensland Health as a supervised psychologist at the Ashmore Community Mental Health Service.
Michael Greene, who was a member of Universal Knowledge for eight years and whom, along with his wife, allegedly ''handed over $75,000 in course fees and over $140,000 directly to Ms Lakaev'', described Universal Knowledge as a cult and identified its leader as Ms Lakaev, though she is no longer the company's director.
Despite numerous attempts to contact Ms Lakaev, including visits to her luxurious Burringbar home, Omaroo, and calls to her various businesses, she did not respond to the Bulletin's requests for comment.
Queensland Health would not comment on the terms of Ms Lakaev's employment. However, a spokesman said the claims would be investigated.
A spokeswoman from the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority could not confirm or deny whether Ms Lakaev was under investigation. However, she did confirm she was registered as a psychologist under supervision.
In a recent interview, however, Ms Lakaev stated: ''I don't harm people. I'm really good at my job, my clients are fine, my patients are fine.''
Mr Greene said he decided to speak out because he felt it was ''dangerous'' for Ms Lakaev to be working with vulnerable, mentally ill patients. He also said she could be ''recruiting'' members for Universal Knowledge.
During his time in the ''inner circle of the cult'' Mr Greene claimed he was subjected to ongoing psychological abuse by Ms Lakaev.
''She may have the pieces of paper to say she can work as a psychologist, but who's going to stop her messing with the minds of vulnerable people?
''There's been a lot of questions raised about Natasha over the years about her involvement with a psychic horse-betting scheme, 26 shares sold to Universal Knowledge students for $20,000 each and questions about how some of the Universal Knowledge courses have been run.''
Ms Lakaev's controversial Universal Knowledge company, formerly known as Life Integration Programmes, has been the subject of intense media scrutiny for more than a decade.
Her courses are based on ''cellular memory'' which, according to Universal Knowledge director Anita Carroll, allows participants to access memories from their descendants dating back thousands of years.
The company offers 20 courses ranging in price from $275 to $16,500. Activities include participants stripping naked in front of a group and having their bodies scrutinised; following a strict vegan diet and ''accessing'' their cellular memory. No courses have run this year.
It is also claimed the courses cure people from illnesses such as HIV and prepare participants for ''when the world shifts from the third to the fourth dimension''.
Ms Carroll said she had been in a program with a man who had been HIV positive but after the program was ''cured'' and, through the courses, she had gained the ability to access her ''other lives''.
She said she had worked for Universal Knowledge for five years, in which time she had not been paid.
She had, however, completed thousands of dollars worth of programs.
Though no longer Universal Knowledge's director, Ms Lakaev and her children still own about 75 per cent of the company.
Senator Nick Xenophon described Queensland Health's failure to respond to questions regarding alleged 'cult' leader, Natasha Lakaev, as 'pathetic'.
Mr Xenophon has been actively lobbying the Federal Government for several years to introduce legislative protection for cult victims and believes French-style anti-cult laws need to be introduced in Australia.
He said he was aware of allegations against Ms Lakaev and Universal Knowledge.
''I have very serious concerns about the group's behaviour, which appears cult-like,'' Mr Xenophon said.
''After speaking to victims of various cults I've noticed a common theme people don't know they're in a cult before they're in too deep.
''I think Queensland Health's failure to respond to allegations about Natasha Lakaev is pathetic, especially since she is treating vulnerable mentally ill clients.''
Michael Greene and other former Universal Knowledge members tell of their experience, in today's edition of the Gold Coast Bulletin
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