ST. PETERSBURG, November 29 (RAPSI) – The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg on Thursday sentenced Ekaterina Zaborskikh, who had been earlier convicted of embezzling millions of rubles from real estate investors and transferring the money to the Church of Scientology Moscow, to 5.5 years in prison for a similar crime, the United press service of St. Petersburg courts told RAPSI. 

For this once, Zaborskikh was found guilty of stealing over 33 million rubles (about $500,000) for the religious organization. Thus, she received accumulative sentences for a term of 8.5 years.

In October 2017, the woman was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for embezzling over 130 million rubles (about $2 million) from real estate investors for the benefit the Church of Scientology Moscow. The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg also granted lawsuits filed by victims demanding 133 million rubles in total from the defendant.  The woman was also ordered to pay 600,000 rubles ($9,000) of court costs.

According to investigators, Zaborskikh was a chairman of several consumer committees and housing cooperatives. Allegedly she was responsible for deceiving people into paying her money under the guise of selling apartments, houses and land plots around St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region while she had no ability to provide such real estate. Allegedly she stole over 130 million rubles from her clients between 2012 and 2014.

Zaborskikh allegedly used the money on her own volition by, among other things, transferring it to the religious organization called “The Church of Scientology Moscow”. According to investigators, she gave away money to the organization both in cash and through cashless transfer.

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.