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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.”

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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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