Belgium prosecuting Scientology

dchoiceisalwaysrs

Gold Meritorious Patron
It would be wonderful if they finally take effective actions. Justice can be slow in many places, it certainly is in the USA, and my goodness but it is very slow in Belgium. BUT it looks like we may get some real action at last.

About 3 1/2 years ago I had a long brunch with four top Belgium prosecutors. And then spoke with two of them more later.

This was at an event that Ursula's department sponsored in Germany. We spoke at length about many things including religious cloaking, employment fraud, staff member abuse, financal fraud and money laundering, corporate shell games and how the Belgium scientology operations were really run from the USA by Miscavige and those under him.

I also explained to them that no matter how many locals they prosecuted in Belgium, the same stuff would happen again and again until those who really run it from abroad could be held liable.

I answered many of their questions and left with the hope that they may do something to stop organized scientology's fraud and abuse.

These may not even be the same people but it is good to once again have the hope that something is about to be done.

My bolding above. I wonder how many countries are NOW comparing notes and tracking the movement of extorted monies and suitcase runners by slappy dictators.

Oh and Denise did you tell them to keep their documents in titanium vaults with Thetan detectors installed? . Seems other European countries had trouble regarding that in the past.
 

mnql1

Patron Meritorious
Here is a Belgian television report in French with English subtitles added. The original report aired on December 28, 2012 on the RTBF network.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf4IAlq9sh4

Source: Des poursuites contre la scientologie

Transcript:

RTBF
December 28, 2012

Anchorman: The Church of Scientology is facing prosecution. The Belgian branch of this organization, which is considered sectarian in Belgium, has been criminally indicted. The church is accused of fraud and the illegal practice of medicine. It is explicitly suspected of being a criminal organization. Quentin Warlop reports.

Journalist (Quentin Warlop): The Church of Scientology of Belgium is now facing judicial prosecution following an investigation concerning the Belgian branch of this American organization and two of its\Ntop officials. The accusations are clear: Illegal practice of the art of healing, fraud, extortion, forgery and use of false documents, breach of privacy, and being a criminal organization.

In reality, all began in 2008. A complaint was filed. Judge Michel Claise headed the investigation, and raids were conducted in April 2008.

The complaint alleged that the Church of Scientology offered false employment contracts. At that time, Chadia was unemployed\Nand was searching for a job. She answered a want ad, convinced that it was for a paying job. She was soon disillusioned.

Want ad: "Non-profit association seeks admin assistant; training provided, no experience required.

Chadia Moussaoui They talked instead about becoming a member, adopting their way of seeing things, etc. I can't repeat it by heart. I read it in 30 seconds. Instead, it was a contract, I read: "from 2 and a half to 5 years" for becoming a member of the Church of Scientology.

Journalist: The accusations are specific. But the Church of Scientology's European office is projecting an image of serenity.

Agnès Bron: Attacks against religion have existed for a very, very long time, except that they used to cast us into the lions' den. Today, they haul us into courts of law. That's the only difference.

Journalist: Except that Scientology is not\Nconsidered a religion in Belgium and remains a controversial organization in this country.

Alain Stoffen knows it well. He is a piano teacher who used to be a Scientologist, but he now denounces its methods.

Alain Stoffen: I was invited to Copenhagen for counseling that would guarantee the growth of my creativity. Without my realizing it, I underwent a process of depersonalization and destructuring that, as I wrote in my book, turned me into a consenting victim of my own mental rape. When I left for Copenhagen, I was doing really well. I was in top shape. When I returned 5 weeks later, I was completely destroyed.

Journalist: In March 2013, the case will be introduced before the Council Chamber. The prosecutor's office is seeking to have the persons indicted in this case tried in a correctional court.
 

Albion

Patron with Honors
Just posted a report at Infinite Complacency.

Thanks once again to mnql1 for the invaluable media trawl.

Federal prosecutors in Belgium have charged Scientology's
Belgian operation and two leading executives with fraud and
extortion among other offences. And it looks like they have
learned from the Paris convictions.


Jonny Jacobsen
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
Story is being picked up by other news organizations

Times247:


Belgium's public prosecutors have decided to prosecute the Church of Scientology in Belgium as a criminal organisation.

Belgian media reports Friday said the organisation and several of its members face charges of extortion, fraud, and illegal practice of medicine.


The Atlantic Wire and Huffington Post are also covering it.
 

mnql1

Patron Meritorious
The judge who investigated this case, Michel Claise, specializes in white collar crime.

AVT_Michel-Claise_701.jpeg


Born in 1956, Michel Claise was a lawyer for twenty years, and he is also the author of six novels (in French):

Salle des pas perdus, 2006 Faux et usages de faux, 2008 Le forain, 2008
51l4tfim7jL._AA160_.jpg
51RHM7%2BEgcL._AA160_.jpg
41t0WD1qQVL._AA160_.jpg

Les années paix, 2010 Souvenirs du rif, 2011 Larmes du crime, 2011
41kPszX3kfL._AA160_.jpg
51d7DT6nRzL._AA160_.jpg
41sqCo5cwOL._AA160_.jpg


His first novel, Salle des pas perdus ("The Concourse"), was published in 2006 and is about Belgium during World War II. In 2010, he published a sequel set in post-war era Belgium, Les années paix ("The Peace Years"). His 2008 novel Le forain ("The Carny") exposes various fraud schemes and depicts the daily realities of a police fraud squad saddled with a lack of resources. Descriptions of this detective thriller say that it successfully underscores the scope of financial fraud and the lack of general awareness about its dramatic impact on society.

References:
http://www.brunette.brucity.be/bib/bibp1/cdm Claise Michel.pdf
http://www.droit.ulg.ac.be/upload/docs/application/pdf/2010-11/engag_ld_1bd.pdf
http://www.wilquin.com/2010/01/michel-claise-salle-des-pas-perdus/
 

secretiveoldfag

Silver Meritorious Patron
My bolding above. I wonder how many countries are NOW comparing notes and tracking the movement of extorted monies and suitcase runners by slappy dictators.
.

This is where there could be real progress in 2013 IMO. It must happen sometime. :yes: The Belgians evidently realise that what is true for Belgium is true for every other legal system in the civilised world. If governments can get together at the level of the EU that could be the end of Scientology in Europe. At least they might begin to shorten the process between gathering evidence and court hearings by referring to previous cases.

As the cult itself makes quite clear, it must persevere with the criminal activity exactly as laid down by LRH.

And once again it has done CoS no good at all to embrace local politicians. I believe the Vlaamse Belang (a neo-fascist party) has not done well in recent elections and the political fortunes of the cult have no doubt gone down with it.

PS If Scientology HQ has moved from Brussels to Mecheln, as I think I read somewhere here, what is the building at 100-103 Boulevard Waterloo, Brussels? It is near the Palais de Justice and so handy for court hearings but otherwise rather isolated on the inner ring road, very little pedestrian traffic. Google call it an Information Centre for Scientology.

They no doubt imagine it is useful to have a propaganda centre near the seat of power (as they now also have in Washington) but it equally opens them up to a lot of unfriendly scrutiny.
 
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Albion

Patron with Honors
Have updated the piece at Infinite Complacency with a reply
I received from Arnaud Palisson to my email asking him which
case he offered advice on.
 

Purple Rain

Crusader
Compare this Belgian response to a complaint over a fraudulent job advertisement with the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman's response to a minor required to work 72 hours and scrub dumpsters with a toothbrush at two in the morning. Just sayin'....

Edit: (Although to be fair the Australian Parliament is in the process of changing the labour laws)
 
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mnql1

Patron Meritorious
Translation of a French article posted on December 29, 2012 on the website of La Libre Belgique:
L’étau se resserre sur la Scientologie
Vice tightening on Scientology

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Federal Prosecutor's Office wants the Church of Scientology put on trial.

The organization has the scent of sulfur. It is considered a religion in some countries, like the United States, and a cult in other countries, such as France. It has few members in Belgium, a few hundred at most, while claiming more than ten million worldwide. Its most famous member is actor Tom Cruise, who is rumored to hold an important position in the organization founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

But Belgium is an anchor point for the Church of Scientology. Its European headquarters are in Brussels, strategically located in the heart of Europe where lobbying is intense.

The Church of Scientology may have to defend itself in the Brussels correctional court if the Federal Prosecutor's Office succeeds in obtaining a trial. As was revealed on Friday in De Tijd, subpoenas have been sent requiring the Church of Scientology to argue this question at the Council Chamber in Brussels. The first hearing is scheduled for March 2013. The debates promise to be long. By deciding whether or not to send the case to court, the Council Chamber will provide a signal about the focus of the prosecution and the strength of the accusations. If a trial is ordered, it will not be for several years.

The case was opened in 2007 as a result of information forwarded by Actiris, the Brussels regional employment office. The Church of Scientology, registered as a non-profit association and based in Uccle, advertised as employment opportunities what in fact were only unpaid jobs.

The case was assigned to investigating judge Michel Claise, who then issued search warrants. The investigation also led to the discovery of other elements. The charges that emerged are fraud, extortion, violations of privacy laws, the illegal practice of medicine, and operating a criminal organization. The Federal Prosecutor's Office has summoned the Church of Scientology and two of its officials in Belgium to appear before the Council Chamber.

This is not the only currently open case against the Church of Scientology. In 1997, some former members filed complaints. The information collected by investigating judge Jean-Claude Van Espen fills 74 folders containing thousands of pages. Judge Van Espen ordered searches in 1999. The Federal Prosecutor's Office drew up an indictment recommending a trial in correctional court for twelve individuals and two legal entities: the Church of Scientology of Belgium and Scientology's "Office of Human Rights," a direct offshoot of this wealthy multinational's parent organization.

The 2007 case does not mention anything about cults or gurus. The allegations are based on the same common law offenses as the first case. The charge of extortion stems from fines that followers must pay in certain circumstances, while the fraud charge is related to the sale of courses with no real value and of overvalued E-meters. The alleged violations of privacy concern the keeping of files in which extremely intimate details about members are recorded.

The first case was supposed to be examined by the Council Chamber in 2009, but it was "put in the fridge" until the second case was ready. The two cases should eventually be combined.

Officially, all of this does not worry the Church of Scientology, whose spokeswoman repeated yesterday that these accusations have already been adjudicated in other countries and that the result has been the expansion of Scientology. This, even though the Church of Scientology was convicted in Paris last February and fined a total of 600,000 euros. In the French court case, the Church of Scientology was accused of profiting from the vulnerability of its followers to extract large sums from them.
 

secretiveoldfag

Silver Meritorious Patron
The 2007 case does not mention anything about cults or gurus. The allegations are based on the same common law offenses as the first case. The charge of extortion stems from fines that followers must pay in certain circumstances, while the fraud charge is related to the sale of courses with no real value and of overvalued E-meters. The alleged violations of privacy concern the keeping of files in which extremely intimate details about members are recorded.

With charges like these the Prosecutor doesn't need to mention cults.

And the Co$ spokesperson is lying.
 

Anonycat

Crusader
Losing faith? Belgium to charge Church of Scientology with fraud and extortion - reports

After a long lasting legal battle Belgium prosecutors demand to label the Church of Scientology as a criminal organization and charge it and its leaders with extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine.

The subpoenas have been sent to the scientologists, the local financial newspaper De Tijd reported.

The charges against the Church of Scientology stem from employment contracts issued to recruit volunteers and members allegedly breaching the country's strict employment laws. In Belgium as in some other countries Scientology is not recognized as a faith.

In 2008 the Belgium Labor Mediation Service complained about number of labor contracts, prompting an investigation.

A judge then ordered raids on Scientology premises where police allegedly “managed to seize a wealth of evidence,” that the organization had spied on and extorted money from its members, the Flanders News reported.

Belgian authorities have been legally battling Scientologists since 2007, when the country tried to label the movement as a cult. Around the same time Belgian prosecutors ruled that the Belgian Church of Scientology, plus Scientology's Office of Human Rights and their 12 members, should be charged with extortion, fraud, organized crime, illegal medical practice.

They were accused of practicing medicine without a license and violating privacy laws.

( full: ) http://rt.com/news/scientology-criminal-charges-belgium-043/

_______________

Huffpo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/...es-scientology-extortion-fraud_n_2375823.html

Federal public prosecutors in Belgium will institute legal proceedings against the church of Scientology in that country and seek to recognize it as a criminal organization.
 

mnql1

Patron Meritorious
Translation of a French article posted on December 29, 2012 on the RTL television website:
Poursuivie par le parquet, l'Eglise de Scientologie est "indignée"
"Church of Scientology "indignant" over prosecutions in Belgium

December 29, 2012

The Federal Prosecutor's Office has decided to prosecute the Church of Scientology of Belgium as a "criminal organization." On Saturday, the American cult said it is "indignant."

The Belgian branch of the American cult and two of its top officials are also accused of fraud, the illegal practice of medicine, various violations of the privacy protection law, and extortion. On Saturday, the Church of Scientology of Belgium said it is "indignant" and asserted that it "[has] not received anything official from the prosecutor's office." "This is a new attack against freedom of religion, which, this time, is taking on the dimensions of an inquisition," added the spokeswoman for the Belgian Scientologists.

"This is not the first time that the media report accusations that concern us before we can be informed in advance. This goes completely against the presumption of innocence and the Declaration of Human Rights that Belgium has signed."

"Violation of the presumption of innocence"

The Church of Scientology of Belgium also wrote in a statement that it has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights for "violation of the presumption of innocence." The statement also emphasizes that Scientology is recognized as a religion in many countries and that the expansion of this new religious movement is a fact. "Our community today includes 7,500 churches, missions, and groups in 157 countries," declared the organization.

On Friday, various media reported that the prosecutor's investigation revolves mainly around the organization's internal practices. The starting point was a complaint from the regional employment services in Brussels concerning work contracts advertised by the "church" but designed for volunteers and members.
 

Anonycat

Crusader
Our community today includes 7,500 churches, missions, and groups in 157 countries

I always laugh at these wild jokes about the scientology presence. 157 countries - that is all but 9 in the world.
 

Lone Star

Crusader
I always laugh at these wild jokes about the scientology presence. 157 countries - that is all but 9 in the world.

Well, you obviously have MUs on the words "presence", "countries", and "world". Clear them up and you'll see that the CoS is being...ahem...truthful. :yes:


:coolwink:
 

TrevAnon

Big List researcher
In the paper De Standaard Belgian COS responds with the yadayada one could have expected:

Improved google translate said:
Scientology: "This is an attack against the freedom of religion '

BRUSSELS - The Church of Scientology responds "outraged" on reports in the media. "We have to date not received anything from the court. This is another attack on the freedom of religion, which now takes the form of an inquisition, "says spokeswoman Myriam Zonnekeyn Saturday afternoon in a press release.

The federal prosecution prosecutes the Belgian branch of Scientology as a criminal organization. The movement and two senior executives are accused of fraud, illegal medicine, various breaches of privacy and extortion. This was also confirmed to our editors.

According to Zonnekeyn it is not the first time that the media are begin informed 'of premature accusations'. "That is contrary to the presumption of innocence and human rights standards that Belgium also signed. The Church of Scientology has made a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights for violations of the presumption of innocence.", it is said in the press release.

The judicial investigation started in 2008, but that the prosecutor asks for Scientology to prosecute does not necessarily mean that there is going to be a trial. It is the court that will ultimately have to decide whether there is enough evidence for that.

The Church of Scientology has been recognized as a religion in many countries around the world, including the U.S. Worldwide, the movement is said to haven more than 12 million followers. In Belgium, the number of Scientologists is estimated at several hundred.

There are currently more than 7,500 churches, missions and groups in 157 countries. Furthermore, the movement itself claims to doing social work, such as drug prevention, human rights education and assistance in disaster areas.

http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=DMF20121229_00417471
 

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
Today's The Age (Melbourne) also has a short par about this suit (which unfortunately is not on The Age's website). The story's starting to spread.

I particularly like the way Cruise is reported to be the leader of the organisation. I don't think DM will stand for that for too long.
 

Anonycat

Crusader

Belgium Aims to Take Down Scientology



Scientologists may soon be facing their most challenging court case yet. After a years long legal battle, federal prosecutors in Belgium now believe that their investigation is complete enough to charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine.

Flanders News reports that the decision "follows years of investigation that was triggered by a complaint by the Labour Mediation Service in the Brussels Region. Labour mediators were unhappy with a number of labour contracts."

The Belgian newspaper added:

"The matter ended up on the desk of examining magistrate Michel Claise, who ordered raids on Church of Scientology premises in 2008. During the raids police managed to seize a wealth of evidence."

Two Belgian newspapers, De Tijd and L'Echo, are also reporting that the Belgian federal attorney is now seeking prosecution.

According to multiple reports, the Belgian government will not charge Scientology for being a cult. Instead, they are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization, which is a rather new twist. Most of the groups court battles to date have focused on establishing its legitimacy as a religion.

Belgian authorities have been battling with Scientologists since 2007, when the government tried to label the group with a cult status.

The Church of Scientology's European headquarters are located in Brussels, so any ban in Belgium could be devastating to the group.

http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/19704


---------------------------

Belgium prosecutor's office accuses Church of Scientology of being "a criminal organization"

A news report from a Belgium television station (embedded below) says that the criminal charges have been brought by the Belgium Federal Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutor's office accuses the Church and two of its senior executives of "the illegal practice of the art of healing, fraud, extortion, forgery and use of false documents, beach of privacy, and being a criminal organization."

http://www.goddiscussion.com/105797...scientology-of-being-a-criminal-organization/
 
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