ST. PETERSBURG, October 30 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg on Monday sentenced Ekaterina Zaborskikh, who had embezzled over 130 million rubles (about $2 million) from real estate investors and transferred the money to the Church of Scientology Moscow, to 6.5 years in prison, the court’s representative told RAPSI.
The court also granted lawsuits filed by victims demanding 133 million rubles in total from the defendant. The woman was also ordered to pay 600,000 rubles ($10,300) of court costs.
Moreover, another criminal case against Zaborskikh over alleged embezzlement of 33 million rubles (about $570,000) from real estate investors has been transferred from the Smolninsky District Court of St. Petersburg to the Oktyabrsky District Court for consideration because of jurisdiction.
According to investigators, Zaborskikh was a chairman of several consumer committees and housing cooperatives. Allegedly she was responsible for deceiving people into paying her money under the guise of selling apartments, houses and land plots around St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region while she had no ability to provide such real estate. Allegedly she stole over 130 million rubles from her clients between 2012 and 2014.
Zaborskikh allegedly used the money on her own volition by, among other things, transferring it to the religious organization called “The Church of Scientology Moscow”. According to investigators, she gave away money to the organization both in cash and through cashless transfer.
Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.
The scientific community never recognized it as science.
A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.
The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.