Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks delivers fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

France

Scientology faces fraud trial in French court

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-05-26

French leaders of the Church of Scientology go on trial for fraud at a Parisian court Monday in a case that could lead to an outright ban on the organisation’s activities in France.

A high profile trial against the Church of Scientology opens in Paris Monday amid questions about whether the latest legal battle could threaten Scientology’s operations in France.

 

This time, the organisation faces a fine of up to 5 million euros and even the prospect of dissolution.

 

The latest case centres on a complaint made by a 43-year-old Parisian woman, who claims the organisation persuaded her to spend at least 20,000 euros for various fraudulent cases including medication for “self-purification”, books and an "electrometer", a device used to measure galvanic skin response in patients.

 

This is not the first time the organisation, which was founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, is facing the French court system.

 

In 1997, Scientology was found guilty of fraud in the southeastern French city of Lyon.

 

'I prefer the term, "criminal sect"'

 

Roger Gonet, who was a plaintiff in the 1996 case, left after 8 years with the organisation.

 

"I always call it Scientology or the sect, I prefer the term, 'criminal sect,'" Gonet told the French press.

 

Gonet accuses the organisation of duping members and making them pay for fraudulent services.

 

"There are those who handed over tens of thousands of francs at the time,” he said, referring to the old French currency. “Now, it can be 300,000 euros per person, or more."

 

The Church of Scientology says money can be reimbursed whenever a former member wants it back. The organisation says that it is not afraid of this court case, having won so many in the past. This time though, it's on high alert. If it loses out, its French operations could be shut down.
 

Date created : 2009-05-25

COMMENT(S)