Russian Secret Service searches Scientology Offices in Moscow

Moscow (dpa) - The Russian domestic intelligence service (FSB) and the revenue police searched through four offices of the Scientology organization in Moscow on Thursday. Scientology is being investigated for illegal business practices, reported the the Interfax news agency, at the behest of security officials.

The procedure by the Russian authorities has been strongly condemned by by Scientology. The President of the international cover organization of the Scientology Church in the USA, Heber Jentzsch, described the action as a sign of an "anti-American, anti-western campaign by extremist Russian officials, together with the Russian Orthodox Church." He further stated that the accusations were pure fabrication by an alleged ex-member, who was just as fabricated as the accusations.

A criminal charge had been drawn up in the past few weeks. The investigators were assisted by a special forces unit of the military in the search.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Scientology has become active in more that 40 large Russian cities. A year ago, Sergei Kirijenko, Russian administrative chief at the time, ran into some criticism because of alleged contact with Scientology. By October 1996, the revenue police were already seizing assets of the Scientology branch in Saint Petersburg.

German Scientology News