French court upholds fraud charge and fine for Scientology for pricey procedures

February 2, 2012

(Scientology centre in Marseille, 14 September 2008/Dominique Pipet)

A French court upheld fraud charges and a €600 000 fine against the Church of Scientology in France on Thursday for cajoling members into spending tens of thousands of euros on personality tests, vitamin cures and sauna sessions.

Rejecting the Church’s appeal against a 2009 ruling, the court fined the French branches of the US-based organisation €600 000 for “organised fraud” and gave four of its leaders suspended jail sentences of up to two years.

Five plaintiffs in the case, which dates back to 1998, accused the Church of persuading them to spend tens of thousands of euros on the personality tests, vitamin cures, sauna sessions and “purification packs”.

The ruling that such activities amounted to fraud deals a symbolic blow to the Church, which has achieved recognition as a religion in the United States and other countries but not in France, where a parliamentary report in 1995 classified it as a “dangerous cult”.

“This is very good news for those who fight against cults and it is a serious defeat for the Church of Scientology,” said Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

However, Thursday’s ruling will not lead to the Church of Scientology being banned from operating in France, as prosecutors had originally intended.

Read the full story by Thierry Lévêque here.
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3 comments

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This is a setback for humanity in the realm of religious freedom. In the 21st century, we are already moving towards religious tolerance and acceptance, and respecting people regardless of their religious affiliation. There’s is no where else to move towards though but religious acceptance. All new religions when they start out with a lot of persecution, because they threaten the status quo, and most people are really very resistant to change. Scientology is already accepted as a religion in many countries, and they have received numerous accolades because of the humanitarian work that they do. It is only a matter of time before other countries follow suit.

Posted by WinnieP | Report as abusive

Kudos to France, Germany and Belgium. Those weirdos need to be banned before someone gets really hurt…

Posted by Icearc | Report as abusive

Scientology definitely defrauds people. It is a Ponzi scheme. It’s worse than the lottery!

Posted by amicuspubl | Report as abusive