The Voice of America website reports today (February 2, 2012) that a Paris court has fined the Church of Scientology in France for fraud, and handed five of its members fines and suspended sentences.
The appeals court ruling confirms a 2009 fraud charge that the Church of Scientology in France pressured its members to pay for books, courses, and so-called "purification remedies" or questionable medical treatments. It fined the church and its bookshop a total of 600,000 euros or nearly $800,000.
The five Scientologists fined and given suspended sentences included Alain Rosenberg -- the head of the French church -- who received a two-year suspended sentence and a fine of nearly $40,000.
Founded in the United States nearly 60 years ago, the Church of Scientology is legally a religion in the United States, Sweden, and Spain. But in France, Belgium, and Germany, Scientology is considered a sect or cult.
Its members include American actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise.