Four leaders of Scientology’s French branch, which claims about 45,000 adherents, were also handed suspended prison sentences and fines. “This is an important… decision because it is the first time that Scientology has been found guilty of involvement in organized fraud,” Olivier Morice, a lawyer for two French citizens who brought the fraud charges against Scientology, said.
From WWP, a breakdown of the verdicts:
* = organized fraud
+ = complicity in the illegal exercise of pharmacy
~ = illegal exercise of pharmacy
& = ordered to publish judgment in newspaper
1. GUILTY Alain Rosenberg - 2 years prison (suspended) 30,000E fine *+
2. GUILTY Didier Michaux - 18 months Prison (suspended) 20,000E fine *
3. GUILTY Jean-François Valli - 18 months Prison (suspended) 10,000E fine *
4. GUILTY Sabine Jacquart - 10 months Prison (suspended) 5,000E fine *+
5. GUILTY Aline Fabre - 2,000E fine ~
6. GUILTY Marie Anne Pasturel - 1,000E fine ~
7. GUILTY Celebrity Centre - 400,000E fine * &
8. GUILTY Scientology Bookstore - 200,000E fine * &
This is not the first time Scientology’s has had legal problems in France. In 1988, Frenchman and church member Patrice Vic committed suicide after going into debt paying for the church’s services (most of the steps on the path of spiritual progress in the church must be paid for).
In 1996, the head of the church in Lyon, was convicted of manslaughter in Mr. Vic’s death. Two other Scientologists received sentences for intimidating a psychiatrist who served as an expert witness at the manslaughter trial.
In 1978, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was convicted in absentia to four years in prison by a French court for making false claims that his methods could cure illness. Mr. Hubbard never served a day of the sentence, and passed away in 1986.