Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Church of Scientology convicted of fraud

(From Yahoo New)

On Monday, a French court convicted the Church of Scientology on fraud charges stemming from complaints by two women. The judge in the case levied massive fines as punishment, fueling a long-running battle between Scientology and France, which considers the group a "sect" rather than a religion. The legal ruling is the latest in a string of recent setbacks for the star-studded organization. Here's a recap of what's taken place recently:
French court rules against Scientology
The judge in Paris ordered the Church of Scientology to pay a €600,000 fine (roughly US$900,000) and sentenced its French leader to two years in prison along with a €30,000 fine (US$44,000) for "organized fraud." One of the women involved in the complaint claimed that she was conned into spending over €20,000 (US$29,500) on vitamins and life-improvement courses after she took one of the stress tests the group is known for administering to prospective members. Another claimed that she was fired by her boss, a Scientologist, after she declined to complete initiation. France refuses to acknowledge the group as a religion and views it as a profit-generating commercial organization. Scientology has been highly scrutinized by the nation's authorities over the past decade for fraud and for making false claims to consumers, causing many to call for the Church of Scientology's ouster for allegedly posing a threat to "public order."

Reacting to the judge's ruling, Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis said that the ruling violated the group's rights and that he expected it to be thrown out on appeal at a later date.

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