ST. PETERSBURG, April 6 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) - A criminal case on money laundering has been opened against one of the leaders of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg, the press service of the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) regional directorate has told RAPSI.
According to investigators, a group of people including one of the religious organization’s leaders laundered 17 million rubles ($294,000) out of 140 million rubles (about $2.5 million) received from illegal business activities.
In late March, searches were conducted at the premises of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg. The raids were directed to identifying more items and documents confirming the criminality of the religious organization leaders’ actions, the FSB press-service said.
Currently, the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg leader Ivan Matsitsky and chief accountant of the religious group Sakhib Aliyev are in detention. The organization’s executive director Galina Shurinova, chief of the official matters department Anastasia Terentyeva and her assistance Constance Yesaulkova are under house arrest. They stand charged with illegal business, inciting hatred and enmity, violation of human dignity.
According to investigators, from 2013 to 2016, the organization received over 276 million rubles (about $5 million) for rendering its services. However, the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg has not been incorporated under the law, an FSB representative said in court earlier.
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.
The scientific community never recognized it as science.
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.