Police Arrest American Suspected of Spying on Judge For Scientologists
MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Police on Thursday arrested an American suspected of acting on behalf of the Church of Scientology to investigate the private life of a judge looking into fraud and tax evasion charges against the church here.
A police spokesman said police arrested Humberto Juan Fontana, 33, a native of Havana and reportedly a Church of Scientology member, and confiscated three dossiers containing information of a confidential nature.
No hometown was available for Fontana, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
Other charges against the Scientology members involve criminal association. The judge has said that Narconon, a church-linked drug rehabilitation program, swindled its clients and lured them into Scientology.
Defense lawyer Jose Luis Chamorro told reporters police raided his office and home Thursday and removed papers from his home.
The spokesman said dossiers confiscated from Fontana contained information pertaining to District Court Judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia and to Pilar Salarullana, a Christian Democratic member of Parliament and an expert on religious sects active in Spain.
He said the arrest came on the judge’s orders after Vazquez Honrubia learned that the church purportedly hired a Barcelona-based detective agency to look into his private affairs.
After a nine-month investigation into Scientiology activities in Spain last year, Vazquez Honrubia ordered a raid Nov. 20 on a meeting of church officials in a Madrid hotel. Seventy-one people were arrested, including Heber Jentzsch, president of the International Church of Scientology.
After questioning all those arrested, the judge ordered 10 foreigners expelled and 50 others released.
He released Jentzsch and the remaining 10 from two Madrid prisons on Dec. 10 after they posted total bail of $1.1 million and agreed to remain in Spain and report before the court three times a week.
Jentzsch, 53, a native of Salt Lake City and a resident of Los Angeles, has repeatedly denied any personal wrongdoing in comments to reporters.
Ms. Salarullana told reporters on Thursday that Vazquez Honrubia showed her one confiscated dossier that contained data on her bank accounts, family documents, photos and public comments she has made concerning the Scientology church and sects active in Spain.
Contacted at home by telephone, Vazquez Honrubia told The Associated Press Fontana would stay in jail at least overnight until the judge could question him about the dossiers and decide if Fontana was to be released or held pending further investigation.
Under Spanish law, a suspect can be held for 72 hours before being formally arraigned.