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Media Articles - 1980s

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3 December 2002
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Police Crack Down on Scientologists

Associated Press
December 6, 1986

Authorities said Saturday they closed all 16 Italian offices of the Church of Scientology and seized books, documents and financial records.

The raids began Thursday and involved Treasury and Carabinieri paramilitary police. Officials also announced the closing of 11 Narconon drug rehabilitation centers, but did not elaborate on the connection.

Raids were conducted in 20 cities including Milan, Turin, Florence, Rome, Genoa and Naples. The last one was Saturday when police shut down a recently opened Scientology office in the eastern town of Macerata.

No arrests were made or charges filed. The office of Milan investigating magistrate Guicla Mulliri said the raids were part of an investigation into possible physical abuse, fraud, violation of labor laws and tax evasion.

The president of the Italian chapter of Scientology, Silvio De Fante, told a news conference Friday: "These charges have to be proved and there has been no proof."He declined to discuss the church's financial status, but said, "We will continue with donations. Every church survives by donations."Scientology, founded in the United States by L. Ron Hubbard, the author of "Dyanetics," (sic) combines self-improvement theories with counseling and instructional seminars.

The U.S. government has long claimed that Scientology is not a religion and should not be exempt from taxes.

In 1978, federal agents raided Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles and Boston and seized documents that authorities claimed showed infiltration of government agencies by Scientologists.