Scientology Facing Trial for Fraud in France

Woman charges church bilked her out of $28K for supplies, drugs

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 8, 2008 1:02 PM CDT

(Newser) – An imminent court case could lead to the Church of Scientology being banned in France, the BBC reports, with the controversial sect being accused of organized fraud by a former congregant. The woman claims she was suckered by the offer of a free personality test, and wound up spending more than $28,000 on books, illegally prescribed drugs, and other supplies.

The church calls the allegations “empty and concocted,” adding that woman had been reimbursed. The public prosecutor seemed to agree, asking that the case be shelved, but the judge ignored the request. Scientology has faced numerous such legal battles in France, which, like many European countries, refuses to recognize it as anything other than a commercial venture.

Photo taken on February 2008 shows the entrance of the Church of Scientology in the 17th district of Paris.   (AFP/Getty)
Members of the Church of Scientology protest outside the French Consulate in Boston in this file photo.
Actor Tom Cruise is among the celebrity adherents to the Church of Scientology, which is viewed more skeptically by European authorities than by US officials.   (AP Photo)
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