Mar 3, 2016

Tom Cruise's 'celebrity' church has funnelled about $2m through Adelaide to boost the Church of Scientology's UK operations

The Advertiser
March 3, 2016

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
ACTOR Tom Cruise’s “celebrity” church has funnelled about $2 million through Adelaide to boost the Church of Scientology’s UK operations.

The Church of Scientology Celebrity Center International — the flash Hollywood headquarters of ‘Project Celebrity’ — lent the money to the Adelaide affiliate, which The Advertiser revealed is helping finance the UK operation.

As reported in The Advertiser yesterday the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc is using the Church of Scientology’s Adelaide office as a base for its UK operations.

According to financial statements filed with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission COSRECI has an outstanding loan of £953,632 without any agreement on repayments.

The money came from the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood, home of Project Celebrity.

Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard created both Scientology and Project Celebrity, which includes actors Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley and John Travolta.

Scientologists want celebrities on board to spread their word as “prime communicators” of their spiritual message.

The celebrities can stay at the centre, which boasts world-class accommodation and a drug detox centre.

The church says it uses Australia as a base “for historical reasons” and receives “no financial benefit from the arrangement”.

“One of the places of worship in England received a loan from Church of Scientology Celebrity Center International a few years ago to help it provide its religious services,” a spokeswoman confirmed.

South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon has previously detailed his concerns with the Church of Scientology, their practices and financial dealings in letters to authorities.

He said yesterday he would renew his calls for the Australian Taxation Office and the ACNC to investigate the church.

“(The celebrity centre) may have lent millions to the Church of Scientology in Adelaide but it still doesn’t change the fact they’ve been having a lend of South Australians for too many years,” he said.

“I’ve previously written to our regulators here and I’m renewing my calls for a fresh investigation into the Church of Scientology following these revelations. I’m writing to the ATO to investigate this further.”

The church says questions about its financial dealings sound like “someone is mischievously trying to upset people in Australia by creating such lies”.

A spokeswoman said the church paid all the relevant taxes, and that Senator Xenophon “makes ignorant generality to attract media attention”.

“The Church of Scientology already report in explicit detail to the

ATO and ACNC,” she said.

“We have already been investigated in detail, as should every

organisation routinely be to make sure they report accurately. Senator

Xenophon says media savvy sound-bites that don’t pan out in reality.”

The Hollywood centre says Mr Hubbard wanted to form a special church to cater to artists, politicians, leaders of industry, sports figures and “anyone with the power and vision to create a better world”.

Fame and its pressure can be a burden, they say, and quote Hubbard as saying:

“The artist has an enormous role in the enhancement of today’s and the creation of tomorrow’s reality. He operates in a rank in advance of science as to the necessities and requirements of man.”

About $20 million a year is raised by COSRECI, and its financial statements is filed with ACNC in Australia, while the money is all spent in the UK. While there are other charities that send money overseas, most go to poverty-stricken countries or those afflicted by natural disasters.

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