Scientology Cult Shut Down Over Shady Land-Grabbing Black Ops in Moscow
Source file retrieved from https://youtu.be/tbH5Gty52CM
Transcript: English sub captions.
Reporter: An influential cult. In the Moscow office of the Marins Union Group the police conducted searches investigating theft of land in Moscow Oblast.
The group has a sketchy reputation: it has close ties to Scientologists.
Varvara Nevskyaya with the details.
This Wednesday, Marins Group was searched by the Investigative Committee.
Both offices and private residences of the top-management have been searched.
But the Group had become infamous long before it drew the attention of the police.
Marins Group was founded in 1995.
Its scope of work is stunningly diverse. How can a single enterprise build high-rise houses, manage hotels, own medical centers, and film movies?
But that’s not everything worth knowing about this mysterious group.
Alexander Dvorkin, Center for the study of religions and sects: “Back when they were in Nizhny Novgorod and called themselves “Zemlyane,” the local medica revealed their close ties with Scientologists.
They are using the methodology of Hubbard, the founder of Scientology to run their business and to force their employees to take part in dianetic seminars.”
However, Scientological teachings couldn’t protect the company from an investigation team showing up in their head office in the north of Moscow.
The Group has allegedly stolen some public and municipal land in Moscow Oblast.
It’s known that the Group owns large territories in Moscow, Volga region, Krasnodar Krai, and Crimea. The company also owns a hotel chain that frequently hosts Scientology seminars as well as other pseudo-religious meetings.
Igor Ivanishko, Ministry of Justice: “The name of the organization has Scientological aspects. The founder of the cult created a marine organization. It was an elite organization that created the basic principles of Scientology. When Alexander Kulikov created Marins Union Group, he chose a name that reflected that Scientological elitism meaning the Marins Union Group is a major front-line organization that’s run according to the principles of Scientology.”
Alexander Kulikov, the founder and former CEO of Marins.
It’s a known fact that he joined the ranks of Scientologists in the early 90s by visiting specialized and then studying in the US Scientology center for 11 months.
It was Kulikov who made his employees visit all the Scientology seminars, read special literature, and go through “auditing,” a mandatory procedure in Scientology when a drugged person shares personal incriminating information in front of the camera.
The information is stored in the local Scientology cells with a copy sent directly to the main office in Los Angeles.
Kulikov died in a helicopter crash in 2016.
However, the company’s structure and ideology remained the same.
Igor Ivanishko: “Unfortunately we can’t say something’s changed. Its activities are based on the principles of Scientology that ar illegal in the majority of countries. In Russia, certain Scientological literature is considered to be extremist. And unfortunately, the situation’s developing in the same direction.”
Then why do such organizations as Marins still exist?
It is because only religious activities of certain groups of Scientologists are prohibited in Russia while the movement itself besides the religious component has other aspects.
Alexander Dvorkin: “Scientology has many organizations. It’s like a Hydra with dozens of heads. We managed to close one, but the other heads are still functioning. We must focus on the ideology rather than a certain organization.”
One of the principles of Scientology reads: “people who don’t accept Scientology are dangerous and need to be isolated.”
That means to strip their rights. This very ideology became the undoing of the Moscow Church of Scientology.
A local religious group is currently being investigated in St. Petersburg too.
Still, Marins Group is not in trouble with the law for being a religious organization. Despite all the facts, the Group is trying to conceal their religious commitment.
Varvara Nevskyaya, Olga Olvukhina Vesti.
Joe Rogan: Oh, okay.
Leah Remini: Yeah.
JR: No partying at all?
LR: No partying.
JR: But when they do have a party. Like if they have a big old celebration. Like I saw the one celebration–
LR: I would go to the Gala every, every year.
JR: Oh, it’s a gala.
LR: Yeah, at Celebrity Centre.
JR: And what happens there?
LR: We listen to speeches about how much Scientology is accepted in the community by the LAPD. And–
JR: The LAPD talks?
LR: Uh-huh. LAPD. The mayors–
JR: So they contribute a bunch of money to the LAPD.
LR: Yes, they give um, they started a thing called the Police Activities Fund. Ah, League. Sorry. The Police Act–. And I contributed to it and I helped it. And they put on a show for the kids every Christmas at Celebrity Centre and they give them money, the proceeds to what they created, which is called the Police Activities League. And they present the LAPD with money for children.
JR: That sounds great.
LR: It’s great. But it’s, listen. It’s purposeful. It’s, there’s a policy called safepointing the community, and that’s what they’re doing. And I did it. So I know what it’s about. Right? You appear as if you are intentions are pure so that you then have maybe favors like this happening where somebody files a police report and you get screwed with.1; 2
Informal transcript of Tampa Bay Times Interview with Mark Rathbun
Chapter “From renovation to IRS Rathbun rises through the ranks.”1
Rathbun: And then after that, in 1981, I went on to what was called the Special Project, which was a small group headed by David Miscavige. He was actually called “The Operator,” so he… You know, everybody from the unit answered to him and there was four other people in it. And our job was to find out ah, really investigate and get to the bottom of ah, why there was so many lawsuits naming L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, and um, come up with a solution as to how to get rid of those lawsuits cuz he was getting on in years and um, he… the idea was he wanted to come back to um, what is now called the International Headquarters or the Int Base in… just outside of San Jacinto, California, um, where films…dissemination and um, educational are made.
And he wanted to get those, those films done, and get them done. So our job was to try to, the… get rid of all these lawsuits that were outstanding against him so that he could come back there, ah, harassment-free and live out his days working on what he wanted to work on.
Reporter: Okay. Okay, and how long were you in this position?
Rathbun: Well, I guess I was on it for the rest of my career in, in a way. I mean there was different permutations of it. It was first called the Special Project, and then it was called the Special Unit, and then it was called… then we, we established the Office of Special Affairs to, to, um, replace the Guardian’s Office. And then I was at Author Services which was L. Ron Hubbard’s ah, personal literary agency, that handled all his personal business. And I was the legal executive there.
But again I was, I was still working on clearing away anything that might embroil L. Ron Hubbard in legal matters or external-facing matters. All the way up… that’s all the way up through ’86 now, so this is a, you know, five year, five year period through there.
Reporter: Okay. And when you first started this post, this is when you first encountered David Miscavige?
Rathbun: 1981. June of 1981…Well I actually knew him earlier, casually, but not…First time I ever worked with him.
Reporter: I see. Okay. All right, ah, and so thereafter you– Tell us about… there’s some highlights of your career, ah, that we’ve talked about, ah, ah, where you did some major things for Scientology. Can you talk about that? Ah, I guess the early 1990’s, ah, when there were problems with the IRS?
Rathbun: Well, yes. The IRS, was um, really an extension of this “All Clear” concept of getting rid of all the legal matters or external-facing matters that are hindering Scientology. It was tied in with the lit-, with ah, about a couple of dozen lawsuits that were brought around the country naming L. Ron Hubbard. Um, some ground… grand juries that were outstanding from the old Guardian’s Office activity that were… there was one in Tampa, one in D.C., and I believe one in New York that were still trying to get indictments against ah, Mr. Hubbard. You know, even after the Guardian’s Office people had been indicted and convicted in Washington.
So all these things sort of tied together with one another. And um, it was always perceived that the IRS was the most important thing to handle because if you have tax exemption you have ah, religious… religious recognition, you’re treated differently in courts, you know, there’s, there’s a, you know, some, some level of almost immunity, First Amendment immunity, to a lot of the type of allegations that were being made.
So, the IRS was the big thing to handle. I mean, when, when I was involved in that in the late ’80s, we had calculated that they, the IRS, considered that the churches had upward of a billion dollars in liability.
And the total reserves of the church were a f… were a fraction of that. Maybe in the 200 million range. So, literally, they could have wiped Scientology out five times through.
So um, between having got rid of a lot of the civil suits in the mid ’80’s and ’93, when we ultimately got exemption, I mean the number one mission was to obtain ah, tax exemption from the IRS and…
Rathbun: ..you know, that was the bulk of what my attention was on and what I worked on.
Reporter: And you were right at the center of that IRS effort, right? Ah, you, ah, worked with Mr. Miscavige. Can you tell us about that, with the IRS people?
Rathbun: Yeah, okay. Well, um, in the late ‘9… late ’80s, ah, and going into the early ’90s, ah, you know, I was tasked with the, with, with, um, implementing um, strategies to try to overwhelm the IRS like they were attempting to overwhelm us. [chuckles] And it was sort of like a “fight fire with fire” situation.
Um, we brought FY… Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, um, in numerous different jurisdictions. We had legal, ah, litigation strategies to um, counteract their strategies to deny certain churches exemption and that sort of thing. But it, it was, it was a huge battlefield. It was nation-wide. It was literally twenty-seven hundred suits at one point.
And I was very much involved in coordinating and coming up with strategies and then executing a lot of that between the late ’80s and the early ’90s.
And then in ah, late ’91, ah Dave Miscavige and myself were in Washington. And Miscavige kept bringing it up with the attorneys, you know, “Why don’t we just sit down with the Commissioner and get this thing straightened out?” because there’s so much, you know, there’s so, there’s so much insanity that goes on when you have this kind of institutional fight going on for so long. And you know you’re fighting over issues that are anachronistic in a lot of cases. They’re just, they’re, they’re not, they’re not even–. You know we’re, we’re fighting over– For example we were fighting over the years ’70 through ’72. That’s as far as the litigation had reached, and here we are twenty years later in ’90, ’91.
So he kept pressing that you know, “Why don’t we just go straight to the top and talk to the Commissioner.”
And we had a lot of expensive attorneys from D.C. and Washington who were, you know, attempting at different levels to start negotiations. And that went in fits and starts and one day we were in Washington, and finally ah, Dave said to one of the attorneys there, he said, you know, “We’re going to go…just go straight down there and go see Fred.” And he… and of course the attorney was laughing. And he turned to me and he said, “Right?” And I said, “Yeah!” And then you know…they all thought it was a joke. And we ah, right afterwards, we just got up from lunch, got in a cab and went straight down there and opened the door. You know, opened the door to, to, to get negotiations going. We didn’t get in a meeting, ah, as has been reported. We didn’t just walk in to the Commissioner’s office. We walked in and said, “We’d like to bury the hatchet.” Couple of assistants, assistants of the Commissioner came down and saw us, took all our information, said he would get…said they’d get back to us. And they did, I think it was even later that day, to set up a meeting with the Commissioner for the following week.
Reporter: This was Fred Goldberg?
Rathbun: Yeah, Fred Goldberg.
Reporter: Uh-hmm, okay. And that began a process, ah, after that?
Rathbun: That began a process. I mean, all Fred Goldberg did was open up the door to creating a f, a forum where we could make a case for exemption. Um, and what he did that was, that was ah, was so positive and unique was is he tried to bring somebody in who was fresh, who, who knew exempt organizations but didn’t have a long history with Scientology.
Rathbun: Ah, cuz there was some real haters, some real Scientology haters within, that you know, had an attitude of, no matter what you said, they were going to, you know, they were going to deny the exemption.
And um, so all he did was put, give us the ability to, to, to meet with a team that didn’t really have a, a long track record on this, yet knew exempt organizations, knew what the requirements were. And said, “Okay, prove you’re exempt.”
And then that process went on for at least two years. I mean we were literally commuting to Washington D.C. almost every week. It was Monday, or Sunday out to D.C., see the IRS, present the answers to their, their set of questions, get another set of questions, go back to L.A., get the information together, get the, you know, some would entail audits of certain units, or this sort of thing, you know, you have to account for different things, [Scratching left ear] in, in operations, in finances, and that sort of thing. Boom! Next Sunday, back on a plane, back to D.C., another meeting with– That went on for two years.
Reporter: And this process is, is it, is it you and Mr. Miscavige primarily?
Rathbun: Primarily. Um, at one point attorneys came in, started coming with us. We were really starting to get into more technical audit issues. Ah, Mike Rinder ah, attended several of the meetings. Heber Jentzsch attended several of the meetings. And then we would sometimes bring in experts on different fields. Like Rick Moxon came in to one on FOIA.
Um, Bill Walsh was another FOIA attorney who came in and attended one or two meetings. But primarily, ah, the two constants through the, from the beginning to the end were ah, Dave and myself.
- Original video: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/rathbun.shtml ↩
Excerpt of Time Magazine article “Scientology The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power”
Complete article: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/media/time-1991-05-06.html
Sect’s Missing Founder Leaves Legal Morass
With the following documents:
- International Herald Tribune (1980, 3 March) Court in France Recognizes Cult, Acquits Ex-Head
- France: Fraud Case Appeal (Extracts of the Judgement 29 Feb 1980)