Russian police carried out a search at a scientology center
Russian police are carrying out a search at a scientology center located to the northeast of Moscow, a law enforcement source told TASS on Wednesday.
"Today the law enforcement agencies have come to conduct a search in the Center for managing activity on spreading dianetics and scientology located in the town of Losino-Petrovsky, in the Moscow Region," the source said.
The investigation is underway as part of a criminal case into illegal entrepreneurship launched by the Federal Security Service in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.
On Wednesday, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) conducted a search at a branch office of the Church of Scientology in the Moscow region, which had been operating without a license, according to investigators.
The Russian Izvestia newspaper reported on Friday citing expert sources, that documents seized during the search suggest that in the past three years, the Church of Scientology brought in to the United States about 3 billion rubles in "donations" made in Russia.
In Russia, some scientology files have been included in the federal list of extremism-related materials and their storage and dissemination is prohibited in the country.
In late 2015, a Moscow court banned the local branch of the church on grounds of non-compliance with the federal law on the freedom of religion.
In June 2016, the Supreme Court of Russia upheld a lower court ruling to ban the Church of Scientology in Moscow. Shortly before that, the FSB searched the Church of Scientology Moscow and St. Petersburg offices in connection with a criminal investigation into the organization’s suspected illegal business activities.
The Church of Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s in the US state of New Jersey. The current international headquarters are located in California. The church has been accused of being a cult and a commercial enterprise and its members have been convicted of fraud, manslaughter and other offenses.
The Church of Scientology is officially recognized as a religion in some countries, such as the United States and Switzerland, while other states, including France, classify it as a cult.