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Church of Scientology loses appeal against French fraud conviction

An appeals court has upheld a €600,000 (£496,000) fine for fraud imposed on the Church of Scientology.

The court also handed suspended sentences and fines to five Scientologists, including Alain Rosenberg, the head of the church in France.

The church was convicted of pressuring recruits into paying large sums for questionable remedies. One took out loans and spent €21,000 on books, courses and "purification packages". When she sought reimbursement and tried to leave, the church leaders refused.

"It is a severe defeat for ... Scientology," said Olivier Morice, a lawyer for a national association fighting religious sects in France. Church leaders in Los Angeles said the court ruling was a "miscarriage of justice".

Belfast Telegraph