Russian raids targeted Church of Scientology

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MOSCOW: Russia’s security service said Tuesday it had raided over a dozen locations linked to the Church of Scientology in the latest step of a long-running battle between authorities and the US-based organization. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said officers “conducted simultaneous searches” at 14 addresses in Moscow and Saint Petersburg as part of an apparent probe into alleged illegal business dealings by the Church of Scientology in Russia’s second city. “Objects and documents were found and seized that proved the version of the investigators about the marketing functions for goods and services of the Church of Scientology of Saint Petersburg in violation of the law,” a statement carried by Russian news agencies said. Last November a Russian court banned the activities of the Moscow branch of the Church of Scientology after authorities argued in part that since it had registered its name as a US trademark, it cannot call itself a religious organization.

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AFP

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