Church of Scientology Accused of $4.8 Million Illegal Profit in Russia
Two members of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Church of Scientology have been put in pretrial detention by the local court as the group faces accusations of illegal business activities and distribution of extremist materials in Russia.
The Church of Scientology of Saint Petersburg was charged with earning an estimated 276 million rubles ($4.83 million) from illegally running commercial courses and programs.
The Nevsky District Court also ruled that the head of the group’s official issues department, Anastasia Terentyeva, and accountant S. Aliev be placed in custody for two months, TASS reported.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained a total of five people during the search at the church’s office on Tuesday. The level of pre-trial restrictions for the three remaining suspects will be decided by the court on Thursday.
The investigators also seized books of the movement’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, from the group headquarters since some of the literature is considered extremist in Russia.
The criminal case against the church was launched over illegal business activities, suspected incitement of hatred and organizing an extremist group.