Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

France concerned about anti-Semitism

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Kerry arrives in Israel to push for Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Netherlands to honour MH17 victims in national day of mourning

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

France

French Scientologists lose appeal of fraud conviction

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-16

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.

The appeal claimed that the religious liberties of the defendants were being infringed, but the prosecution argued that the case did not hinge on questions of religion and was a simple case of fraud.

The church had indicated that if its appeal was rejected it would seek recourse at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

A 'cult' in France

Although it is considered a religion in the United States, Sweden and Spain, a 1995 French parliamentary report called it a “dangerous cult”.

French courts convicted Scientology members of fraud in 1997 and 1999, while the church was fined for violating privacy laws in 2002.

Founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Los Angeles-based church bases its beliefs on a close study of his book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. The organisation claims a global reach with 10 million members in 165 nations – including 45,000 in France – and high-profile celebrity devotees like John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

The church has fought numerous lawsuits around the world since its establishment in 1954, both to fend off accusations of fraud or manipulation and to seek legal recognition as a religion.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-10-16

  • FRANCE - RELIGION

    French court upholds fraud charges against Scientology

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French court convicts Church of Scientology of fraud

    Read more

COMMENT(S)