Police Arrest Scientology President, Five Colleagues
PARIS (AP) _ The president of the French branch of the Church of Scientology and five colleagues have been arrested in a probe of alleged fraud and illegal practice of medicine, court and church officials said Saturday.
The president, Daniele Gounord, was arrested Friday in Paris along with the church’s treasurer and the head of a church foundation. They were placed under court supervision, but not jailed
Three officials of the Scientologists’ branch in Lyon were arrested there in the past 10 days - the local president, treasurer and secretary. They have been charged with complicity in fraud and illegal practice of medicine.
All six are to appear in court in Lyon, where an order for Friday’s arrests was issued by Judge Georges Fenech.
The arrests stem from a police investigation into the suicide of Patrick Vick, a Church of Scientology member in Lyon who jumped out of a 12th floor window in 1988. Investigators found medicine in his house allegedly provided to him by the church in violation of a regulation requiring a doctor’s prescription.
Vick’s widow filed a complaint in court against the Scientologists’ branch in Lyon.
The church issued a communique denouncing the arrests as ″a serious attack on individual freedom of religion.″
The Church of Scientology was founded in the United States in 1950 by L. Ron Hubbard.