A Scientologist is arrested in Russia for purportedly stealing the money given to her for dream homes. Elekterina Zaborskikh donated the money to the church of Scientology.
Zaborskikh has been accused of stealing $2.5 million (130 million rubles) between 2012 and 2014 from prospective buyers for apartments, which were never built by her construction company. The prosecutors said that part of the money was drawn off and sent to the Church of Scientology in Moscow.
The Daily Beast reported that posters of Olimp, the construction company owned by Zaborskikh, advertised “affordable castles” in a green neighbourhood. The castles were purchased but never built. Websites advertising the projects now warn buyers that the buildings will not be built.
A woman who has been identified only as Anna told NTV that she paid $49389 (2.5 million rubles) to the company. She was informed that construction would start immediately. Eventually, she discovered that the company had never really got an approval from authorities for construction.
People who were conned into paying for something that wasn’t there accused Zaborskikh of giving the cash to the Moscow Church of Scientology in the form of donation.
Local papers reported that the church was raided in 2014 over large-scale theft allegations. In January 2015, the church was again raided so authorities can analyse financial documents. The Church has a previous history of fraud-related cases.
Russian Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson said, “Detectives in Saint Petersburg found that some of the stolen funds had been transferred to the account of this religious organisation in Moscow. The suspect is a member of this organisation.”
He added, “The investigation does not exclude the possible involvement in this crime on the part of officials and coordinators of this religious organisation.”
According to Independent, Scientology officials at the church in Moscow denied the allegations and said that Zabotskikh had never given the church any money from fraudulent operations disguised as donation.
The Church’s spokesperson Natalya Alekseeva said, “This search was related to a business located in St Petersburg. This matter has no connection with the Church of Scientology in Moscow.”
Scientology is based on psychoanalysis and spirituality. It has been given a status of a religion in the US in 1993. Famous Hollywood celebrities like John Travolta and Tom Cruise are some of the followers of Scientology.