Belgium Reportedly To Seek Prosecution of Church of Scientology For Extortion, Fraud, and An Array of Other Crimes

488px-scientology_symbolsvgI suppose the good news for the Church of Scientology is that Belgium is no longer calling it a cult. The bad news is that it has moved on to calling is a criminal organization in a comprehensive set of charges ranging from extortion to fraud to privacy breaches to the illegal practice of medicine. The charges follow years of investigation into labor contracts that led to raids on Church properties in 2008. In 2009, Scientology was convicted of fraud in Paris and fined almost $1 million.

Belgium has long treated Scientology as a cult as have other countries. However, this latest case strips away that controversy over the line between faith and a cult. Instead, the Church is defined simply as a criminal organization. The charges hit the Church in its European headquarters, which is based in Brussels.

The prosecutors in Belgium appear ready to strike at the very heart of the Church’s organization and revenue structure. That structure is deeply enmeshed with its religious beliefs, including a system of steps of higher awareness that gradually cost more and more to achieve. Past members have accused the Church of working them as virtual slaves with little pay and constant threats and intimidation as well as bribing officials or obstructing investigations into past deaths.

Source: Atlantic Wire

37 thoughts on “Belgium Reportedly To Seek Prosecution of Church of Scientology For Extortion, Fraud, and An Array of Other Crimes

  1. Don’t get me wrong. I think Scientology is a criminal organization. Not a particularly well hidden one either. However, other than the Xenu, what separates their organized criminal activities from say an organization that systematically keeps pedophiles from being brought to justice in order to limit their liability? I’m just sayin’ . . .

  2. I think the RCC has a longer history of slavery, pediphiles ans status. Now what will they do to the RCC?

  3. Unfortunately for Scientilogy it does not have its own sovereign state to fall back on. Nothing like sovereign immunity to protect your assets.

  4. Snake oil comes in many flavors. Human sheep come from all pedigrees.

    The wolves dressed in the clothes of power feed and fatten the minds of the sheep with sugary confections that clog all individual worth and self determination. Scientology will just move on to greener pastures.
    They are mere infants at massive manipulation thus far. To seek greater legitamacy they really should run one of their priests for President of the USA.

  5. Well, we just had a Mormon bishop take a crack at the presidency and it seems we have a number of Mormon bishops in Congress.. Does anyone know how many clerics of whatever variety we have in government positions including but not limited to Congress?

  6. Does this mean the Belgian government will go after all religions engaged in criminal activities? Or only the small, less established ones?

    The catholic cult needs to be targeted as a criminal organization, as a pedophile ring.

  7. All religions are criminal organizations practicing fear, extortion & fraud. I’m glad to see that lots of people are turning away from that racket but unfortunately too many have been brainwashed. They won’t get over it until they lie rotting in the ground like every other living thing that has been on this planet.

  8. Lot’s of relgious stuff today from Mr. Turley. I was born this day @ 11:30p. My old man was religious thanking the Good Lord for the tax deduction. Mom was praying for a New Year’s baby.

  9. Corrupt organized religious entities abound and almost all skirt close to the line of fraud and exploitation. I think Scientology though has one unique characteristic that takes it past the religious freedom issue and into the criminal enterprise category. It was founded specifically as a tax dodge to take advantage of our laws. The other religions were founded in the wake of some prophet and the religious zealotry engendered and once becoming organized became corrupt by the possibilities of wealth and power. Hubbard was a man whose life had been spent as a huckster and weaver of tales and the concept of forming a phony religious organization for tax benefits was well-known in the 50’s, coming mainly out of California.

    However, now that I’ve written the above I’ve had some second thoughts.
    Joseph Smith was a “Dowser” and came from a family of “treasure finders”.
    Jesus was probably a reformer, whose message was distorted by Paul, a man he never knew. Paul’s message was then distorted by Constantine seeking power as an Emperor. The prophesy’s of the Hebrew Patriarchs and prophets were made into a centralized temple, that nurtured a “priestly class”. The ancient (perhaps the oldest extent) Hindu writings were used to define a system that separated the Indian society into rigidly defined castes, with another Priesthood and Upper Class reaping the bounty and the benefits. Confucius proposed the earliest version of the “Golden Rule” to end the endless warfare and strife of his time. He became an icon, but his “Golden Rule” became a memory. The Buddha sought to relieve human suffering, but his teachings were perverted in India to make him part of the Hindu Pantheon and thus relegate him to irrelevance. The Zen offshoot gained popularity, but within 500 years developed into bitter warfare between those who interpreted it differently. Zen also became revered in Japan, especially by the Nobility and Samurai’s. Martin Luther sought to relieve Christians from the power of the RCC, but by the end of his life added his own version of intolerance. His “liberation of Christianity” led to sects like the Calvinists, etc., who presented their own “life killing” version of Christianity and our own Pilgrim’s who escaping religious intolerance the tried to impose it on these shores.

    I could go on, but why bother. I actually respect some of those with religious belief and piety. I am myself a Deist, rather than Atheist or Agnostic, since I do believe there is a Creative Force at work in the Universe, but its nature is such that it is beyond humanity’s grasp, except as a faint glimmer. The true basis of all religions is simply treat other humans as you yourself would be treated. All else, as Rabbi Hillel put it,
    is the commentary on how to best accomplish it. However, once religious belief becomes cemented into an organized structure it is, like our politics, taken over by frauds and sociopaths who have learned through the years that it is an excellent way to warp people’s longings into profit.

  10. I hate to tell you this but Paris is in France and France is a separate coutnry from Belgium. Neither is in pirate territory so if they are fining the Church of Scientology they are probably doing it with some degree of due process of law and not some islamic Law notion of justice. There may be chumps out in society who are businssmen and actors and good neighbors who have belonged to this cult. But dont be fooled by these dumb schmucks. Scientology is one big con game. Put em in jail where they belong Belgium and let em con the other cons. Some of em are RepubliCons.

  11. When my kid was 18, some scientologists out on the street talking at folks accosted him and offered him a free psychological assessment. He went for it. He filled out some forms and then a pretty young woman sat down to speak with him about his questionnaire. She told him that she had determined that he was stressed. He said, “I told YOU I was stressed.” She went on to tell him that what they could do for him was to show him a video about how scientology would cure his stress. SO he left. He told me, “Isn’t it weird? The Mormons had a video that would cure your stress too. Do the Jews have a video that cures your stress?” I said, “No, the Jews have a video that GIVES you stress. Here, eat something.”

  12. The amount of religious hate on these pages abounds. Okay. Fine. Religion bad. You guys good. Pot. Black. Judgemental much people?

  13. Malisha, LOL! You have a great perspective and are able to use humor quite well. There’s not an ounce of sanctimony in you, but probably a few pounds of guilt??

  14. Bev, Didn’t you get the memo? Only religious people are judgemental. I love your minimalist comment. “Brevity is the soul of wit.” You got to love the Sermon from the Mount. As a wise history professor told me, “If you want to understand people..and people are history, you have to appreciate irony.”

  15. I am an atheist but I know people sucked in by Scientology. I think the difference is that you can be a Christian or Muslim or Buddhist without ever contributing a dime to the church. Scientology appears (from reports of those in it) to require payment, you cannot get their version of counseling or spiritual guidance without paying for it.

    But you can walk into a Christian church (and I presume a Muslim mosque or Jewish synagogue) and get a sympathetic ear and counsel from a priest without having a penny to your name. If you have to pay for those services, it is a business, not a religion.

  16. Tony C. –

    The christian cults are like drug dealers. The first hit is always free.

    It’s when they’ve got you addicted that they start threatening and extorting people for money (i.e. “Give to the church or you’re going to hell, because I – uh, ‘god’ needs money!”). It’s how they prevent people from leaving, how they keep them addicted.

  17. WOW, you folks are hot. Good tidings for the New Year?

    Malisha, you are always there when we need common sense and brilliant insight.

    NickS, a tip. Get away from sources and personalities and concentrate on the merits of the message.

    In extenso as usual. Thanks. But think you and Dredd should confer over your creative force and his abiotic evolution which produced carbon and eventually life. I prefer the unknown as my answer. Particularly your ability to reconsider your words in midflight was outstanding. Wish that more of us could do that. Sign of a mind or opinion not cast in cement.

    My own view? Already expressed differenty in different comments.
    A religion does provide free service, but at the cost of a hidden tax is my view.
    Business which is criminal, no matter what they call themselves should be treated as criminals. Thus when do this we must deal with our war criminals like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Dubja? Not to mention the death for profits MICSP industries.

    Not to forget the world of money sucking AKA international fraud, sorry finance I meant. That won’t happen until we stop paying interest to the FED on every dollar they print. Follow JFK’s execuive order and re-activate the printing of silver certificates by the Treasury Department.

    As long as the money businesses control the money, they control our world.
    A paraphrase on a Rothchild utterance. They’ve got us by the balls crudely put.

  18. NickS,

    The same to you and especíally the last. Life is more enjoyable, thanks in part to you and others here.

    On re-reading the thread, I must add that your first comments were spot on the issues. My bad in not remembering them, and letting the merits of the messenger take over.

    Your brave voice and energy is appreciated. We should be more tolerant of personality differences. Not addressing the content issue. Personal aspersions are not good, regardless of who makes them. A word meant for all here. Arguments? Tear them apart. This is a law blog with many lawyers. The kitchen is hot.

  19. It is refreshing to see a government actually take an alleged religion to task like this.
    I am stressed just thinking about the religions claiming that they can relieve my stress! Of course at what price?

  20. Rafflaw,

    With all due respect for you and your faith Do you give to your church? Do you thus pay for the relief that confession of sins that the church and its faith accords you?

    Don’t take it personally, It is an remark meant for all religiously inclined from an agnostic who pays the taxes from which the churchs are exempt.

  21. In America, the churches are tax exempt and thus are religions. So says the IRS (see other thread), so it is a religion in fact
    Or is that reverse logic, or whatever fault it may be called.

    Let’s hope the court decides otherwise in the FFRP case.

  22. I was once the National Sales Manager for a software company that was 99% Scientology-run. They fired me because I refused to follow the dictates laid out in the LRH book “Management Technology”.

    BTW, the co. president made between 11 and 13 million dollars in her investment in Earhlink internet service provider – founded by a CS
    scam artist.

  23. Science and tology. How about hope and prayer Hopayer. The Church of Hoeayer. I am a Hoepayer. If you aint got hope start praying. ok time to pass the plate.

  24. Nick S, I’m a Jew, where would I be without pounds of guilt? (Skinnier, that’s where)

    One time I was asked to sit on the board of a nonprofit agency where I had volunteered in the children’s programs. So I got on the board knowing nothing about what board members do. That agency was secular but it had been founded by the town’s “First Presbyterian Church” which was a wealthy old church, the landed gentry. So I got on the board and about three weeks later they voted me secretary and then the only two people on the board who were not from the FP Church were the President (Catholic) and me. After one of the meetings, he observed, “The rest of the board are Presbyterians. You and I are the only two on this board who understand guilt.” So I said to him, “but you guys go to confession; doesn’t that deal with the guilt thing?” He said, “Oh no, we never tell the REAL stuff in confession; we tell the sound byte guilt you get Hail Mary’s for.”

  25. The incredible Malisha speaks. When do we open a shrine to her honor.
    Private prayers at home are welcome too.

    If she had not become a wronged mother, she would absolutely be our best jewish stand-up comic.

    As it is she deserves a program now. Try talking to the folks at Colbert report to get tips on starting.

    Good luck ïn the New Year.

  26. Malisha, My wife is an elder in the local Presbyterian Church. They’re quite democratic. So democratic it usually take 10 meeting to get a simple matter resolved. However, it’s a reaction to the Catholic patriarchal church..I’ll go w/ the Preby’s! Happy New Year.

    ID, We’re all good. Unfotunately I have a lot less energy than I did even 10 years ago. However, we adapt or perish.

  27. NickS,

    I share the energy problem but that is the newly acquired heart flutter.
    Of course age is a very small factor. ;-)

    Had a good checkup lately. Even thyroid, marginal diabetes, etc.
    My rates are cheap.

    I shall survive. My last words.

    Going to bed.

  28. HumpinDog is an Elder in the Church of the Ladder Day Labradors. I cannot get him to chimne in on this topic. He just says: Hump em if ya gottem. I do not know what that has to do with religion. He does carry a ladder around on Sunday. Dog only knows what he does with it. He drags it on a leash and barks about Ladder Day.

  29. Late in the thread.

    It pleases me to see this happen to the $cientologist syndicate. That organization is composed of charlatans as managers. Criminal Organization, a more fitting label.

    It would be even more pleasing to see it disintegrate and its victims find some comfort with an honorable charity/church/temple to be welcomed in.

    Someone mentioned earlier about other religions not requiring a dime to become members in good standing. That is to me the litmus test of a religion’s legitimacy. God does not need money. Churches do need cash to operate like anything else but when it is in operation FOR the money it is corrupt.

  30. Idealist, Nick S, sorry, didn’t see your comments until now.

    So, Idealist, thanks a gazillion. Where’s the shrine? Are they throwing money?

    Nick S, those presbyterians can talk you into a veritable doldrum but they’re smart and they’re decent folk. Our agency, it turned out, had a dishonest executive director and she was ripping off the programs. I couldn’t believe it but when I did believe it, I took it to the Board. The proof was there and we had to get rid of her before we lost our United Way funding. I insisted we act. They refused to vote. Then the President said he would resign if they didn’t vote. Then the vice president said SHE would resign. Yep, the Treasurer said HE would resign too. That would have left me holding the gavel. It was 11:30 p.m. when this happened and we had been talking about it nonstop since 7:00 when the meeting started. My eight-year-old kid was sleeping on a sleeping bag in the adjoining “break room.” I said, “I will not resign. I will take over and we will call a vote and if you don’t vote we will discuss it some more and then I will call a vote and if you don’t vote we will discuss it and on and on all night. I will keep this going ALL NIGHT and I will not adjourn. At eight in the morning I will call the Oregonian Newspaper and invite them to come and take notes on the rest of the meeting. This public meeting will continue until we have a vote.” They looked daggers at me. Then they voted. We saved the agency but we did lose one (out of six) of our programs. United Way confirmed to us six months later that they were already meeting to remove us from their list because of mismanagement.

    I learned a lot from those people. But I must say I learned it the hard way.

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