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French court convicts Scientologists of organised fraud
Sydney Morning Herald
October 28, 2009
Source (+Video)

PARIS: A court yesterday convicted the French branch of the Church of Scientology of organised fraud. The Scientology Celebrity Centre and a related bookshop in Paris were fined a total of 650,000 ($1 million).

The court did not restrict the church's activities in France.

"No one recruited or sold for their own benefit, it was all for the organisation," said Judge Sophie-Helene Chateau. "It is more expedient to punish with a large fine and by alerting future members with widespread publication of the ruling.''

The case stemmed from complaints by two women that the church harassed them to buy products including vitamins and enrol in classes. An investigating judge sent the group to trial against the recommendations of the Paris prosecutor.

Church lawyers said they would study the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

Alain Rosenberg, the church's leader in France, was given a two-year suspended jail sentence and a 30,000 fine. The court said the sentence was suspended in part because of "efforts by the association to change its practices".

In 2002, a French court fined the church for violating data protection rules.

Yesterday's decision was the "first time in France Scientology has been condemned as a legal entity", said Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the complainants. "The organisation now knows it is being watched."

Last year, a German court authorised monitoring of the group, saying it "wants to establish a society which disregards central constitutional guarantees like human dignity and equality".


Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.
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