St. Petersburg’s Church of Scientology is charged with illegal revenue of $4.8 mln

St. Petersburg - St. Petersburg’s chapter of the Church of Scientology faces criminal charges for running illegal commercial courses and collecting an illegal revenue of 276 million rubles ($4.8 mln), the investigator told a district court, which opened hearings on the requested restrictive measure to be taken against the first defendant in the case, a TASS correspondent reports.

On Tuesday, the federal security service FSB searched the religious organization’s office and detained a number of key suspects.

The group under investigation has been involved in illegal business activity since January 3, 2013 without obtaining the required registration. Experts estimate the amount of cash received in revenues from commercial courses and programs at 276 million rubles, the investigator told the court.

Earlier, the regional office of the federal security service FSB said the searches were held as part of the criminal case opened over illegal business activity, incitement of hatred and organization of an extremist group.

In March 2017, the FSB searched a dianetics and scientology center near Moscow in connection with the investigation of St. Petersburg’s Church of Scientology.

In Russia, some scientological materials have been declared as extremist and blacklisted. Their production, circulation and keeping in Russia’s territory is prohibited.