French Scientologists lose appeal of fraud conviction


France's highest appeals court on Wednesday upheld a 2009 fraud conviction against the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre and its bookstore in Paris.

France's highest appeals court on Wednesday upheld a fraud conviction against the Church of Scientology, which was appealing a 2009 ruling against five church members as well as its Celebrity Centre and a Scientology bookstore in Paris.

The French branch of the Church of Scientology was found guilty of organised fraud in 2009, a ruling that was upheld in a February 2012 appeal.

Five plaintiffs in the case accused the church of persuading them to spend tens of thousands of euros on personality tests as well as bogus vitamin cures, sauna sessions and “purification packs”.

The court levied fines totalling €600,000 on the Celebrity Centre and the Scientology bookstore in Paris. Four French Scientology officials received suspended prison sentences while the church's leader in France, Alain Rosenberg, received a €30,000 fine as well as a two-year suspended sentence.

Written By: France 24
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    • In reply to #1 by Blasphemyman:

      Well a start with Scientology!
      Now what about the desultory dogma of Islam?

      The French court isn’t just fining them for being wrong or telling lies, they are fining them for business fraud. Scientology is different from any sect of Islam I’ve ever heard of in that Scientology really is just a business scam hiding behind religion. The personality tests, e-meter readings, etc. all come with a hefty price tag and all have claims that are either demonstrably false or at least without any evidence at all. Scientology is more like homeopathy or other pseudoscience cures in that way and hence it is open to being sued in ways that Islam isn’t.

      If anything the various US evangelical mega-churches are more similar and as I’m sure they are trying to branch out hopefully the French will go after them next. If you’ve ever seen Pat Robertson’s show it’s really funny in a twisted way. There is this wheezy old white guy telling you how with the lord’s help and his incredible Pat Robertson milkshake Pat can bench press hundreds of pounds and you can too if you just buy his milkshakes. When you think about it, it’s a good business model, once you have identified a group that will believe a wafer turns into a dead mans body before they eat it you know you’ve got some suckers who will believe anything.

  1. Great result. I see that Scientology is defined as a cult under French law rather than a religion. After this ruling, it should more accurately be defined as an organised crime gang. It is a criminal conspiracy against the public, or rather against some of the more vulnerable members of the public. Like every such crime gang, it should be declared illegal in any well organised country.

    • In reply to #7 by A3Kr0n:

      In the United States they could probably qualify for public money if they opened some private grade schools.

      A scary thought!

      But with regard to Scientology the French courts and government have done Voltaire proud.

    • In reply to #7 by A3Kr0n:

      In the United States they could probably qualify for public money if they opened some private grade schools.

      They appear to qualify in Australia, unfortunately. They even teach from Ron L Hubbard’s books. Known as Athena School, they are is licensed by Applied Scholastics International, and teach based on the works of Hubbard.

      Critics portray Applied Scholastics as a front group for Scientology — a claim that Applied Scholastics denies. But, according to the church itself, Applied Scholastics is a church-sponsored educational program and a “Scientology-related entity.”

      From the Scientology Website:

      Applied Scholastics is a fully independent, nondenominational organization supported by the Church of Scientology and by Scientologists dedicated to raising educational standards throughout the world.

      Enough said. They have received $1.4 million in 4 years for that one school.

    • In reply to #7 by A3Kr0n:

      In the United States they could probably qualify for public money if they opened some private grade schools.

      Tell that to the Fresh Prince.

      They do manage to get public money through the prison industry and drug rehabs. They have a lot of subsidiaries (rehabs, human rights groups, thinktanks, research groups, patients rights groups, etc) and their connection is not always obvious, if even legally verifiable.

  2. A cult is still strictly religious though in the view of some it has come to mean a ‘group with extreme views and practices’. From wiki:- The term “cult” first appeared in English in 1617, derived from the French culte, meaning “worship” which in turn originated from the Latin word cultus meaning “care, cultivation, worship”. The meaning “devotion to a person or thing” is from 1829. Starting about 1920, “cult” acquired an additional six or more positive and negative definitions.

    I get the impression this decision is relying on a shift in meaning to sanction scientology but leaving a distinction between it and ‘respectable religions’ that no one wants to tackle head on.

  3. “There’s one born every minute.”

    It’s the same with news papers, if you don’t like them don’t buy them.

    I’ve been in “the eye of the storm” a couple of times, and what was being put out in the print media was for the most part vacuous crap.

    What’s the driving motivation behind it all? Money! Deprive them of that and they’ll just fade away; job done.

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