Church of Scientology Convicted of Fraud in France

The AP is reporting another example of the ‘Church’ of Scientology finally coming in for the critical attention it deserves but that the media has been afraid of for fear of costly litigation:

A Paris court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than euro600,000 ($900,000) on Tuesday but stopped short of banning the group as prosecutors had demanded.

The group’s French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.

The court convicted the Church of Scientology’s French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used “commercial harassment” against recruits.

The group was fined euro400,000 ($600,000) and the library euro200,000. Four of the leaders were given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. The other two were given fines of euro1,000 and euro2,000.

However, the court did not order the Church of Scientology to shut down, ruling that it would be likely to continue its activities anyway “outside any legal framework.”

Prosecutors had urged that the group be dissolved in France and fined euro2 million ($3 million).

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