Belgium: Church of Scientology fraud and extortion trial begins in Brussels


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Belgium: Church of Scientology trial begins on October 26, 2015

The Church of Scientology will be put on trial before the 69th Chamber of the Brussels Correctional Court on October 26, 2015. Hearings are scheduled for October 26, 27, 29 and 30 and November 9, 10, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26 and 27. Thirteen defendants — eleven Scientologists and two legal entities: the Church of Scientology of Belgium and the Church of Scientology of Europe — are accused of extortion.

Source: Le procès de la scientologie débutera le 26 octobre prochain

Captain Koolaid

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Re: Belgium: Church of Scientology trial begins on October 26, 2015

Figures. Belgium shares a border with Germany, or, to be more specific: The country is PTS to the land of intolerance. :ohmy:


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Re: Belgium: Church of Scientology trial begins on October 26, 2015

Figures. Belgium shares a border with Germany, or, to be more specific: The country is PTS to the land of intolerance. :ohmy:

Belgium is also very near France, the country where Scientology is a convicted fraudulent organisation and one step away from being banned completely.

Belgium : doinitrite ! :thumbsup:


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The misinformation campaign is in full swing. According to their spokesperson Agnes Bron, there are more Scientologists than we think.

In Europe, by contrast, people tend to keep their affiliation to scientology secret. 'Otherwise, they would lose their jobs,' confides Agnès. 'There are many more scientologists than we think.'

There are certainly millions more than they think!
There are supposedly 10 million scientology members throughout the world. The main mission of the Brussels branch is to welcome travelling scientologists. It is also charged with promoting social programmes. Under the umbrella of anti-drug and human rights organisations, the churches are able to reach into a number of institutions, including schools. Agnès Bron states that more than 600 opinion leaders, association presidents or members of political parties have visited boulevard Waterloo since January. It's an impressive number. Nevertheless, the new centre has not been designed to lobby European institutions. 'There is the office of human rights for that,' states Agnès. In fact, the office where lobbying campaigns are based is the international church of scientology’s European office for public affairs and human rights, located on the rue de la Loi in Brussels.

The building at 103 Blvd Waterloo is enormous and convenient for the law courts. The other at 91 rue de la Loi is equally impressive and near various EC offices. It's the same old story: if they aim for a high profile someone will object.

I foresee a few more questions about the source of their funds.
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Lots of media.

Belgian Scientologists go on trial for fraud and extortion
The Belgian branch of the Church of Scientology has gone on trial and faces a possible ban for fraud and extortion, charges it claims are meant to ruin its reputation.

Jonny Jacobsen Brussels 26 Oct. 2015
Trial Day 1: Money & ethics
The trial of two Scientology associations and 11 members opened in a packed Brussels courtroom Monday, with the focus on how the movement disciplined its members and how it made its money.

There was standing room only as the press came out in force to hear details of the charges against the defendants, which range from fraud and extortion to criminal association.

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Criminal trial over Scientology begins in Belgium
IANS | Brussels Oct 26, 2015 07:36 PM IST

According to VRT, it is estimated that somewhere between 300 and 500 people in Belgium are members of Scientology, which is considered a cult under Belgian law.

The broadcaster said in its report, "The lawsuit is bad news for an organization reputed to be very controlling, which attempts to suppress any kind of negative coverage."

The trial is expected to last several weeks.



Scientologists in Brussels court on fraud charges

Thanks for the updates. :thumbsup:

IBetty over at Tony O's blog was giving a live update, ie what the Judge asked and what the witness said.

My only complaint, if you will, is I wish the media would be more specific in this regards:

quote from this

"Critics say that it is a cult and that it scams its members, while supporters maintain that it provides spiritual support to its followers."


"[STRIKE]Critics[/STRIKE] Critics and ex members say that it is a cult and that it scams its members, while [STRIKE]supporters[/STRIKE] members maintain that it provides spiritual support to its followers." :biggrin:

semantics, I know. LOL

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From The Bunker: i-Betty live blogging.

Andrea 'i-Betty' Garner • 12 hours ago

Judge is shit hot.

Prosecution read out witness's KRs where he reports forcing people to buy courses. Witness kept saying "you are taking it out of context. I wanted them to know the way to happiness". Judge said, you wrote these KRs in French. The Belgian court system is in French. There is NO context other than the words you wrote and THOSE are the words that will be entered into the court records.

Andrea 'i-Betty' Garner •
A great exchange:

Swiss (I think) Scientologist on the witness stand being grilled about ethics folders.

Witness: ethics folders are where a Scientologist's progress is recorded.

Judge: then what is the need to include info about the Scientologist's pharmacist or neighbors? Tell me something positive that might appear in an ethics folder.

Witness: [silence]

Judge: one thing please.

Witness: [silence]

Judge: tell me one positive thing that might be recorded in an ethics folder.

Witness: [silence]

He would not, could not answer after 3 requests. Just silence.

Once_Born Andrea 'i-Betty' Garner • 9 hours ago

The behaviour of this judge is an interesting culture shock for anyone who is used to the US/UK adversarial legal system, where counsel present their cases and the judge occasionally asks a question or rules on a matter of law.

The way I understand it (and correct me if I'm wrong, anyone) Belgium operates an inquisitorial system. The judges sometimes even direct police investigations. It is the job of the judge to investigate matters of fact and law, and the job of counsel to protect the interests of their client.

In the UK/US the judge is a referee. In Belgium, he's the biggest, meanest wrestler in the ring.

Thanks for the reports. I can't wait to hear the judgement.

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Next report:

Day 1, pm: Questions of Ethics

Jonny Jacobsen
Brussels 27 Oct. 2015

Judge Régimont and a former president of Scientology in Belgium could not agree on what role the movement’s system of ethics played in the organisation.

With Monday afternoon’s session, a former president of the Church of Scientology, was called to the stand.

Vincent Grognard, 48, dressed in a light-grey suit struck a more confident figure than his predecessor at the stand. In his replies to the Judge Régimont, he was courteous to a fault: but he stuck to his vision of Scientology despite persistent and pointed questioning from the bench.

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Love this judge!

Pieces of the Scientology Puzzle
Jonny Jacobsen
Brussels 28 Oct. 2015

Judge Régimont stepped in. What about the phrase, “You have to give him a hard time…”?

Again, Grognard conceded that it was poorly phrased. Better would have been: “You have to make his mouth water…”

“But that means forcing them,” said the judge.

“No one has ever been forced,” Grognard replied. “It is always the choice of the person.”

Judge Régimont did not seem convinced. “This looks rather like a list of people who have reached a certain level … and you have to make them pay more. It is not really a question of the free will of these people.”

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Scientology Belgium trial sets off with vitamins, personal files and purification saunas

The proceedings took a bizarre twist when the former chairman, identified only as Vincent G, won a reprimand from the judge for telling the court he received orders from Hubbard, who died in 1986. "You received your orders from the afterlife, then," the judge said. "We speak French here, not scientologist," the judge snapped later at an evasive reply, La Dernière Heure reported.

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Informative overview of what's happening.

Jonny Jacobsen: Reflecting on the first week of Scientology’s criminal trial in Belgium

What we are looking at here is 12 individual Scientologists, many of whom occupied senior positions in the Belgium operation, on trial for a range of crimes, including fraud, extortion and criminal association.

More importantly though, we have the Church of Scientology Belgium, and a related organisation, European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights in the dock. The prosecutor accuses Scientology in Belgium of being a criminal organization, which in theory at least means they could be shut down here. Those are the real stakes in this trial.

This case presents particular challenges because there are no longer any plaintiffs. Unless someone makes a late appearance, no one is going to stand up and tell harrowing stories about what they say they suffered in Scientology. And from a journalist’s point of view, that means there are no sympathetic lawyers willing to share details of the case.

While the plaintiffs may all have settled or withdrawn for other reasons, that does not mean that the prosecutor and the court cannot still use the meat of what they told investigators. And that is what we have been getting glimpses of in court, as the judge confronted each defendant with some of the evidence supporting the charges against them.

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And Jonny's next report:

The IAS: funding Scientology's good works

At the beginning of Tuesday’s proceedings, three people stepped forward in a bid to become plaintiffs in the case.

They were two former members of Scientology, John Duignan and Samantha Domingo; and Victoria Britton, from the United States, who explained that she had lost her son in tragic circumstances. All three felt they had information that would be useful to the court.

Judge Yves Régimont, after having established that none of them had been personally affected by the Church of Scientology in Belgium or any of the individual defendants, said he was obliged to refuse them. While their information might have been pertinent during the investigation, the stories they had to tell did not fit the framework of the current trial, he explained.

There were different levels of membership, she said: you could be a member for free for six months; and you could be a Life Patron for $20,000.

But she had paid $5,000 more than that, the judge noted. And that was only up to 1999. At that time, she said, she and Vincent G. were together, so they were listed as a couple. but they later separated.

“So you are no longer a Patron?” asked the judge. That struck Judge Régimont as a little unfair. “You should make a claim about that,” he suggested.

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