Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    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)