I blogged a while back on a French court case in which the Church of Scientology was accused of organized fraud. Well, the verdict is in, and as the BBC reports, it’s not in Scientology’s favor:

A French court has convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud, but stopped short of banning the group from operating in France.

Two branches of the group’s operations and several of its leaders in France have been fined. …

Prosecutors had asked for the group’s French operations to be dissolved and more heavily fined, but a legal loophole prevented any ban.

Instead, a Paris judge ordered the Church’s Celebrity Centre and a bookshop to pay a 600,000-euro fine.

Alain Rosenberg, the group’s head in France, was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence and fined 30,000 euros.

Three other leading members of the group were also fined.

A ban is not possible as a direct result of this case, then, but it might still happen:

Ban ‘still possible’

Unlike the US, France has always refused to recognise Scientology as a religion, arguing that it is a purely commercial operation designed to make as much money as it can at the expense of often vulnerable victims, the BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby reports from Paris.

The BBC article does not, unfortunately, fully explain how a ban is possible. One can only hope that it happens nonetheless. It couldn’t happen to a better bunch of people. Of course, I mean that facetiously … for an explanation of what the Church of Scientology has done, see this recent three-part (with sidebar stories and videos added) exposé of the group, by the St Petersburg Times — the paper showed a lot of courage in taking on an organization which has been willing to do almost anything, including unethical or even illegal activities, to bring down its critics.

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