Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILTY

Media coverage related to the Church of Scientology.

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Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILTY

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:35 am

Scientology: A conviction for fraud confirmed
Two structures of Scientology and five French Scientologists were accused of taking advantage of the vulnerability of former followers.
Le Point.fr - Posted on 02/02/2012 at 09:13 - Edited on 02/02/2012 at 09:24
http://www.lepoint.fr/societe/scientolo ... 580_23.php
Google translate: http://translate.google.co.uk/translate ... 580_23.php
The Court of Appeal of Paris condemned on Thursday the two main structures of the French Church of Scientology to a total fine of 600,000 euros for "organized fraud". The fine structures in both Paris, the Celebrity Centre and its library SEL, is identical to that imposed at trial. Five Scientologists have also been sentenced on appeal to sentences ranging from 10 000 euro fine and 2 years suspended sentence and 30,000 euros fine.

The trial was cut short in November due to the departure of the defendants and their lawyers . The prosecution accused the two main structures of Scientology French, the Spiritual Association of the Church of Scientology - Celebrity Centre and its library SEL - and five Scientologists have taken advantage of the vulnerability of former followers for extracting large sums of money.

At trial, the two corporations were fined respectively 400,000 and 200,000 euros, and the other defendants to prison terms ranging from 2 000 euro fine and 2 years suspended sentence and 30 of 000 fine. At the appeal hearing, the prosecutor's office requested the fines and suspended prison sentence weighed down against the majority of defendants. He asked for fines "not inferior" to 1 million and 500,000 euros against the Celebrity Centre and the SEL, but not disqualification. In the first instance, in 2009, the court ruled: "A disqualification might cause the continuation of activities outside any legal framework."
A reminder of the original convictions, fines and sentences.......
*Note 4b and 5b. Sabine Jacquart and Aline Fabre came off worse after the appeal.

Summary:
1. GUILTY Alain Rosenberg. 2 years prison (suspended) 30,000E fine *+
2. GUILTY Didier Michaux 18months Prison (suspended) 20,000E fine *
3. GUILTY Jean-François Valli 18months Prison (suspended) 10,000E fine *
4. GUILTY Sabine Jacquart 10months Prison (suspended) 5,000E fine *+
* increased on appeal 4b. GUILTY Sabine Jacquart 2 years prison (suspended) 30,000E fine *+
5. GUILTY Aline Fabre 2,000E fine ~
* increased on appeal 5b. GUILTY Aline Fabre 10,000E fine ~
6. GUILTY Marie Anne Pasturel 1,000E fine ~
7. GUILTY Celebrity Centre 400,000E fine * Ordered to publish details of judgment.
8. GUILTY Scientology Bookstore 200,000E fine * Ordered to publish details of judgment.

* = organized fraud
+ = complicity in the illegal exercise of pharmacy
~ = illegal exercise of pharmacy
Note: (7) & (8 ) are ordered to pay for the details of the conviction to be published in the major French and English-language news outlets including Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, the Herald Tribune and Time Magazine – and their websites.
Other individual orders and penalties such as for damages and costs awarded to the plaintiffs add further 27,450 Euros to the total.

---------

Other related threads, discussions:

WWP: https://whyweprotest.net/community/thre ... ars.99675/
OCMB: France: Scientology appeal trial Nov. 3 - Dec. 1, 2011: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=35279

Some background reading. Previous OCMB Media threads during the original 2009 trial:
SCIENTOLOGY TRIED FOR FRAUD: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=30663
New french law makes scientology ban illegal in France: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=31290
FRANCE: Court Ruling on Scientology cases *** GUILTY ***: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=31507

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:13 am

Jonny Jacobsen gives us the skinny from the front lines...
ref: https://whyweprotest.net/community/thre ... st-2041116
Albion, posting on WWP, wrote: The appeal court has confirmed the convictions of the two Scientology
organisations appealing their convictions for organised fraud; it has
also confirmed the convictions of the five Scientologists who were
appealing their convictions. For the most part, the sentences of suspended
jail sentences and fines remain the same.

Outside the court, Maître Olivier Morice for the counter-cult group UNADFI
described it as a historic victory which he said had been followed by several
European countries where court cases are pending. He also mentioned that
Australia had been following the situation in France with interest and that in
the United States several lawsuits from former members were pending.

The appeal court rejected UNADFI's request to be admitted as plaintiffs to the case.

I'll put more up at Infinite Complacency shortly.


Jonny Jacobsen
Edit: Jonny's initial blog report up now.
The Appeal Court Judgment
The Court of Appeal in Paris confirmed the convictions of the two
Scientology organisations for organised fraud; and of five Scientologists
appealing convictions for organised fraud and the illegal practice of pharmacy.

http://infinitecomplacency.blogspot.com ... gment.html

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:21 am

News reports in English:

French court upholds Scientology fraud conviction
Associated Press/Google 2nd Feb 2012
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 3feea899e2
AP/abc: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wir ... n-15495402
AP/ajc: http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/fr ... 27759.html
AP/Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe ... onviction/
AP/Seattle times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/n ... ology.html
AP/Times of India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Fren ... 727097.cms
AP/Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eur ... story.html
.....and more duplicates of that AP report.

PARIS (AP) — A French appeals court on Thursday upheld the Church of Scientology's 2009 fraud conviction on charges it pressured members into paying large sums for questionable remedies.

The case began with a legal complaint by a young woman who said she took out loans and spent the equivalent of €21,000 ($28,000) on books, courses and "purification packages" after being recruited in 1998. When she sought reimbursement and to leave the group, its leadership refused to allow either. She was among three eventual plaintiffs.

Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the church in Los Angeles, denounced Thursday's decision, calling it a "miscarriage of justice."

She said the group would appeal the decision to the Court of Cassation and plans to bring a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. Another complaint in pending with a U.N. special rapporteur.

During the appeals process, the prosecution had asked for the church to be fined at least €1 million ($1.3 million) and its bookstore €500,000. But the appeals court on Thursday instead ordered the same fines as the trial court, €400,000 ($530,000) for the church and €200,000 for its bookstore.

In the original trial, prosecutors had tried to get the group disbanded in France, but the court declined even to take the lesser step of shutting down its operations, saying that French Scientologists would have continued their activities anyway.

"The environment in the court was so prejudicial that defense attorneys walked out of the proceedings in protest, refusing as a matter of conscience to participate in proceedings that had degenerated into a charade," Pouw said by phone.

While Scientology is recognized as a religion in the U.S., Sweden and Spain, it is not considered one under French law.

Founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the church teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems. It claims 10 million members around the world, including celebrity devotees Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Belgium, Germany and other European countries have been criticized by the U.S. State Department for labeling Scientology as a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations
If they really do take an appeal to the highest court, Cour de Cassation, then it is not like the previous lower court appeal where it was effectively a retrial. It will be more like we see in US/English court appeals where only the points of law are argued.
I can't even begin to wonder WTF Karin Pouw thinks the U.N. special rapporteur can do on behalf of scientology, especially when all legal avenues have not been exhausted. If they get no joy at the Cours De Cassation then there is the Eurpoean Court of Justice, which only makes sure EU law is being applied/complied with correctly, and European Court of Human Rights, which IMO will be unlikely to reverse what is a simple fraud conviction even if they actually thought there was a case to answer in the first place. In any case, all that would be a long way away and lots of other things are going to go badly for the cult in the meantime.

Suck it up, scientology.

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:16 am

Thanks to mnql1, posting on WWP for this update:
ref: https://whyweprotest.net/community/thre ... st-2041138
mnql1 wrote:The sentence handed to Sabine Jacquart, former president of the Spiritual Association of the Church of Scientology - Celebrity Centre, was increased to match Alain Rosenberg's sentence: 2 years in prison (suspended) and a 30,000 euro fine. At the end of the first trial, she had a 10-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 5,000 euros.
Source: http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/societe/ ... uerie.html
Image

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by mnql1 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:41 am

Translation of an excerpt from an interview with Valeska Paris posted on Feb. 2, 2012 on the website of French daily Le Parisien:
Une ancienne scientologue : «J’ai perdu tout un pan de ma vie»
("Former Scientologist: "I lost a whole part of my life")
Are you following Scientology's legal developments in France?
Of course, I am hoping it will be convicted. David Miscavige hates France. One day, we had organized a celebration for Alain Rosenberg [one of the defendants] on the Freewinds; he had just won an award. Everything was decorated in the colors of France. Miscavige, in a rage, ordered that everything be torn down! He detests France because he can't do what he wants there. It's a pebble in his shoe.

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:21 pm

Scientology in France: Still Guilty of Fraud
by Tony Ortega. Village Voice. 2nd Feb 2012
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninsca ... y_in_4.php
Big news this morning out of a French appeals court, where a decision was handed down regarding Scientology's 2009 conviction for fraud.

Scientology watchers around the world have been keeping an eye on the proceedings, which were wild and woolly: in November, Scientology's entire contingent of attorneys and defendants stormed out of the courtroom, complaining about how the case was proceeding.

Well, now they have even more to be steamed about. At about 4 am our time this morning, the Court of Appeal in Paris upheld the 2009 convictions of two Scientology organizations and five individuals, as well as about $800,000 in fines.

I talked by phone this morning with Jonny Jacobsen, a British journalist who has spent years covering Scientology in France, and who has covered every technicality and court maneuver in the appeal at his blog, Infinite Complacency.

I asked him just how big this news is in France itself.

[...continues in article link...]

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by mnql1 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:27 pm

Translation of a French article posted on Feb. 2, 2012:
"Les jours de la Scientologie sont comptés", selon le président de la Miviludes
Scientology's days are numbered in France says MIVILUDES president

Georges Fenech, president of MIVILUDES (Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Combat against Sectarian Abuses), believes that "going forward, Scientology's days are numbered in France." In a statement to AFP on Thursday, Mr. Fenech qualified as "historic" the decision rendered Thursday morning by the Paris court of appeal, which "clearly condemned Scientology's fraud." The court confirmed the respective fines of 400,000 and 200,000 euros that were imposed on Scientology's two Parisian entities, the Celebrity Centre and the SEL bookstore. The Paris court of appeal also confirmed or increased the sentences handed down in 2009 to five Scientologists. "In France," Mr. Fenech added, "We can can consider that Scientology, which is a church only in name, has its days numbered. In the event of a subsequent conviction, it will almost automatically incur dissolution."

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by brownjedi » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:55 pm

Horrible start of the month for the cult...bravo France!

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:02 pm

Couple of new images appearing on some of the versions the previous AP articles......
http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC120 ... conviction

About 50 Scientologists, holding signs saying "No to a heresy trial" and "No to justice under pressure," protested outside the Paris court hours after the decision.

Image
Members of the Church of Scientology protest outside the
Paris courthouse on Thursday, Feb 2, 2012. The placards
reads: ''No to religious discrimination''.
[Associated Press]

Image
Riot police officers face protesting members of the Church of Scientology
outside the Paris courthouse on Thursday, Feb 2, 2012. [Associated Press]


CBS rolls with a larger version of the ironic image of the scientologist from the close of the appeal last year....
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-573 ... onviction/

Image
A masked member of the Church of Scientology demonstrates with a sign saying "Justice for Scientologists"
on Nov. 24, 2011 in front of a Paris courthouse. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Voice of America goes with this one from today ....
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/eur ... 60384.html
Image
Members of the Church of Scientology, protest outside Paris courthouse in Paris, Feb. 2, 2012.
[Associated Press]

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:19 pm

UPI feed...
Church of Scientology ordered to pay $789K
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/ ... 328206834/

Published: Feb. 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM

[PHOTO]
Undated file photo of a Scientology center in Marseilles, France. (Dominique PIPET/Wikimeida)

PARIS, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The Church of Scientology in France was ordered Thursday by an appeals court to pay nearly $789,000 for unfairly taking money from followers.

The appeals court, which confirmed a 2009 fraud conviction, also upheld a fine of about $39,000 and a two-year suspended jail sentence for Scientology movement leader Alain Rosenberg and upheld or increased fines, now about $13,000-$39,000, against five other Scientologists, Radio France Internationale reported.

But the church was not banned from operating in France.

The convictions were for fraud or illegal practice of pharmacy. Plaintiffs said they were given vitamins and concoctions the group said would improve their mental state.

PHOTOS: Famous Scientologists

"This is very good news for those who fight against cults and a serious defeat for the Church of Scientology," said Olivier Morice, lawyer for plaintiff Unadfi, a group that campaigns against sects.

France considers Scientology a cult or sect, not a religion, and has prosecuted individual members but 2009 marked the first time the Church of Scientology as a whole had been convicted.

Wall Streeet Journal online...
French Court Upholds Verdict Against Scientology Center .
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... lenews_wsj
PARIS—A French court upheld fraud convictions and fines totaling €600,000 ($790,000) against the Church of Scientology's Paris-based Celebrity Centre and its bookshop on Thursday, in a case highlighting the country's attempts to curtail some of the activities of the Los Angeles-based organization.

The Paris appeals court also ordered the French branch of the Church of Scientology to publish the ruling in five of the country's largest daily newspapers, and gave four of its leaders suspended jail sentences of up to two years, a spokeswoman for the court said.

A lawyer for the Scientology church, Alexis Gulbin, said the U.S.-based organization would challenge the appeals-court ruling before a higher court, the Cour de Cassation.

The Church of Scientology was first convicted of fraud and fined in 2009. The case followed complaints filed in the late 1990s by two former church members, who said they had been cheated out of money by the organization. One of them said she had given €21,000 to the organization over a period of several months. After leaving the group, she asked to be reimbursed, but the Church of Scientology didn't give her the money back, she said in court testimony.

The other woman said she had been fired by her boss, a Scientologist, after refusing to take classes given by the church.

News24/Reuters blogs. "Faithworld"...
French court upholds fraud charge and fine for Scientology for pricey procedures
by Reuters staff
http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/201 ... rocedures/
A French court upheld fraud charges and a €600 000 fine against the Church of Scientology in France on Thursday for cajoling members into spending tens of thousands of euros on personality tests, vitamin cures and sauna sessions.

Rejecting the Church’s appeal against a 2009 ruling, the court fined the French branches of the US-based organisation €600 000 for “organised fraud” and gave four of its leaders suspended jail sentences of up to two years.

Five plaintiffs in the case, which dates back to 1998, accused the Church of persuading them to spend tens of thousands of euros on the personality tests, vitamin cures, sauna sessions and “purification packs”.

The ruling that such activities amounted to fraud deals a symbolic blow to the Church, which has achieved recognition as a religion in the United States and other countries but not in France, where a parliamentary report in 1995 classified it as a “dangerous cult”.

“This is very good news for those who fight against cults and it is a serious defeat for the Church of Scientology,” said Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

However, Thursday’s ruling will not lead to the Church of Scientology being banned from operating in France, as prosecutors had originally intended.

Read the full story by Thierry Lévêque here.
Wikinews:
Scientology guilty of fraud rules French appeal court
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Scientology ... _id=356056
(could do with some expansion on the detail)

UK Independent/AP (brief)
Church of Scientology loses appeal against French fraud conviction
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 48727.html

Court upholds Scientology fraud ruling in France
The Irish Times - Friday, February 3, 2012
RUADHÁN MAC CORMAIC in Paris
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 75786.html

Church of Scientology loses appeal against French fraud conviction
Belfast Telegraph/AP 3rd Feb 2012
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/ ... 12928.html

secretiveoldfag
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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by secretiveoldfag » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:36 pm

What Scientologists now had to understand was that they were involved in an organisations whose methods had been found to be fraudulent, said Morice.
I like it.

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Don Carlo » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:16 pm

I'm glad they got suspended sentences so they couldn't act like they were martyrs for freedom like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King.

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:16 am

Don Carlo wrote:I'm glad they got suspended sentences so they couldn't act like they were martyrs for freedom like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King.
Plus, when you're protesting in Paris you get to call them criminals directly to their faces and be 100% correct, both on a personal and organisational level.

Also, Here's something you can post in YouTube comments. It fits within the character limit perfectly:

Scientology convicted of FRAUD on appeal in France 2nd Feb 2012
The GUILTY...
1. Alain Rosenberg. 2 years prison (suspended) 30,000E fine
2. Didier Michaux 18months Prison (suspended) 20,000E fine
3. Jean-François Valli 18months Prison (suspended) 10,000E fine
4. *Sabine Jacquart 2 years prison (suspended) 30,000E fine
5. *Aline Fabre 10,000E fine
6. Marie Anne Pasturel 1,000E fine
7. Celebrity Centre 400,000E fine
8. Scientology Bookstore 200,000E fine
(*sentence/fine increased)

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Sponge » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:45 am

Brief mention on ABC News 24 national midday headlines (Australia)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opYKRW0UZyA
(Thanks to zhent on WWP for the upload)

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Re: Paris, France: Fraud Appeal judgment 2nd Feb 2012: GUILT

Post by Don Carlo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:20 am

Hi, six convicts ! One more fraud case and the French might dissolve CoS in France. Imagine the abuse you'll get if CoS France is ruined forever. Avoid the screaming and the amends. Sortez par la porte (walk out the door).

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