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Ruthless cult has local company // 'Mafia like' US cult has local links

Title: Ruthless cult has local company // 'Mafia like' US cult has local links
Date: Sunday, 12 May 1991
Publisher: Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Main source: link (213 KiB)

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MEMBERS of the Church of Scientology, described as a thriving cult of greed and power in a recent Time magazine expose have been linked to Cyprus through offshore company Theta Management Limited, which deals in consultancy and investments.

In a special report dated May 6, Time reporter Richard Behar said the Church, which claims to have eight million followers, squirreled away an estimated $400 million in bank accounts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Cyprus.

Theta Management Ltd was created on 29.10.1984, on £100,000 capital. Until November 4 of the same year, Costas Kemitsis, an accountant, and Marina Marangou, a lawyer, were managers of the firm. Shortly afterwards US citizens Michael and Marlene Parodi, and Canadian Murray Bauman were appointed Managing Director, Patent Officer and Managing Director of the firm, respectively.

In 1986 French citizen Sabine Eleyelle Bauman took over as Managing Director from Michael Parodi. New Zealanders Pauline Chatterton and Helen Wehl were appointed manager and accountant in the firm.

The Parodis and Bauman registered their address in company documents as 47-31 and 48-33 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles.

The Cyprus Mail has discovered this address is the same as the Church of Scientology's headquarters in Los Angeles.

Registered addresses of Chatterton Wehl and Sabine Eleyelle Bauman are the same as that of Scientology college, in East Grinstead, Sussex. England.

On Tuesday an article appeared in Alithia newspaper on Scientology, based on Behar's findings that the cult had millions stashed away in Cyprus. The writer of the article urged that the group here be exposed.

The following day Nicosia lawyer Tassos Papadopoulos wrote to the newspaper, acting on behalf of Theta Management Ltd.

The letter said the said article made "unacceptable innuendos" about Theta, and was libellous.

The report written by Alithia chief editor Alecos Constantinides, did not mention any company by name, and merely said that Scientology followers believed they were "Thetans."

Papadopoulos, a high ranking Democratic Party member and MP candidate, said yesterday the beliefs of the company's administration were of no concern to him.

Papadopoulos said Theta Management deals with investments and consultancy. A file at the Registrar of Companies' office lists the aims of the company as to "handle, invest, run and allot money or fortunes of charities, charitable organisations, religious organisations and companies" and that it "advises and offers services through centres, promotes educational seminars, and offer lessons to institutions, schools and companies."

Costas Kemitis, who is on company file as being a majority shareholder in Theta, could not give any explanation yesterday as to why the company felt bitter about the Alithia article. "I have no idea what the company does - and anyhow," he said, "I did register Theta, but I am just an employee."

The Church of Scientology was created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, to "cure people of unhappiness." The group boasts 700 centres in 65 countries, whilst many of its followers have been accused of committing financial scams, writes Time.

The church attracts its followers through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and remedial occupation. In the 1960s writes Behar, the cult decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits (or 'thetans') who were banished to earth 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler named Xenu.

Time calls the church a global scam, a hugely profitable racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner.

A youth from Pennsylvania, Noah Lottik, 24, committed suicide last year by jumping off hotel building. When police arrived at the scene, his fingers were still clutching $171 in cash, the only money he hadn't yet turned over to Scientology, which he had discovered seven months earlier.

Before the youth killed himself, he had paid the Church $5,000 for church counselling. After his death, the cult haggled with his parents over $3,000 Lottick had paid for services he never used.

His parents, Time claims, blame the church, and would like to sue them but are frightened by the organisation's reputation for ruthlessness.

[Picture / Caption: Grieving parents lost a son to the Scientology cult.]