Here’s some good news. The highest court in France has upheld a conviction for fraud against the “Church” of Scientology and its French leaders. This, of course, has prompted howls of outrage from the Scientologists about how their religious freedom is being denied.
The Cour de Cassation in Paris, France’s highest appeals court, on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the Church of Scientology against several convictions for “organized fraud”.
The Church had argued in a September 4th hearing that the verdicts constituted a violation of their religious liberty, but the court on Wednesday rejected that claim.
In 2009, convictions and fines of €400,000 and €200,000 ($812,000 in total) were handed down to the Church’s Celebrity Centre and a Scientology bookshop in the French capital.
Scientology leader in Paris, Alain Rosenburg and the Celebrity Centre’s former president Sabine Jacquart were also found guilty of taking financial advantage of elderly members of the Church and sentenced to two-year suspended prison sentences as well as being handed €30,000 fines for organized fraud.
Turns out there’s quite a history here:
This isn’t the first time the Church of Scientology has been touched by scandal in France.
In 1996, Jean-Jacques Mazier, leader of the Lyon branch of the Church, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for fraud and involuntary homicide after Church member Patrice Vic committed suicide after going into debt to pay for Scientology auditing sessions.
In 2008 Kaja Bordevich Ballo, a Norwegian student living in Nice, killed herself after receiving the results of a negative Scientology personality test. However, prosecutors failed to find a direct link between the test and the woman’s suicide.
Scientology is a giant scam, but more and more they’re being nailed legally. The church faces fraud and extortion charges in Belgium as well, which is their European headquarters.