MOSCOW, June 21 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – The Federal Security Service (FSB) launched a criminal case against members of the St. Petersburg branch of the Church of Scientology suspected of engaging in illegal business activities, the FSB regional department’s spokesperson Natalia Voskresenskaya told RAPSI on Tuesday.

The FSB officers have conducted searches in St. Petersburg, Leningrad Region and Moscow, in offices and apartments of alleged participants of illegal activity, Voskresenskaya said. Documents supporting investigation’s theory that the Church of Scientology branch members had sold goods and services in violation of law were seized. 

Investigators believe that the suspects’ activity had interregional nature.

Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.

The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.