The fall of “Olymp” or how sects exist in the modern realias

The fall of “Olymp” or how sects exist in the modern realias
Entrepreneur-scientologist Yekaterina Zaborskikh

A criminal case on charges of fraud amounting to 130 million rubles will be heard by the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg. Yekaterina Zaborskikh, a Scientology follower, is on the dock. She is accused of fraudulently tricking out of customers’ money for a low-rise construction. It is the first criminal case of this kind in the Northern Capital.

A Wallet

Experts in the field of fight against sects confirm: for several years, the destructive cults that gave their ground in the 90s grow in influence. The largest ones, such as Jehovah's Witnesses or the followers of L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings massively reformat their teachings to modern realities. Nobody already cares about the struggle for the soul. These days, they fight, basically, only for wallets. As the saying goes, if you want adherents’ offerings, change yourself. So for several years, Hubbardists switched to ... real estate sales. They actively use their skills of fooling people for successful sales.

Thus, the Chairwoman of a certain "Olymp" PO, Yekaterina Zaborskikh, was successfully selling non-existent apartments in non-existent cottages for 2 years (from 2012 to 2014). Yekaterina and her husband Michail were withdrawing the funds obtained from the investors from the company’s cash register and transferred them to the head office of the Scientology Church of Moscow by concluding fictitious loan agreements with them. Money was intended for "training". In fact, the lady longed to get a new (yet unknown) serenity level and open the secrets of the teaching at last.

Саентологическая церковь Москвы
Church of Scientology Photo

The private limited company "Olymp" appeared on the construction market of St. Petersburg suddenly and was noted by its aggressive advertising of low-rise housing complexes with romantic names "Edge of the Forest", "Sunny Meadow", "Suzdal Courtyard," "Trinity Mountain", "Forest Fairy Tale", "Peterhof Manor". Co-investors were promised attractive discounts on absolute pay, interesting projects of house planning, green gardens. The company was going to build 5 low-rise buildings in St. Petersburg and the region with a comfortable layout and in ecologically clean areas. The company obtained the permission for the cottage development in 2012, but the transfer of the intended use of the area for low-rise development was not satisfied, as it was planned.

In addition to the beautiful exteriors that were supposed to surround the buildings, businessmen also attracted customers with beautiful prices. Thus, the cost per square meter in these low-rise cottages ranged from 85 to 100 thousand rubles. One bedroom apartment costed about 3 million rubles, two-bedroom one with the improved design was 6 million rubles. Share contribution agreements were concluded with the clients, as well as the apartment and houses and land provision contracts.

Real estate investors or, to be precise, shareholders who wished to invest in an advantageous construction were demonstrated ... the same construction pit. Shareholders began to "buzz" from the year 2013. It is because the "Suzdal Courtyard" on Yelizavetinskaya Street, 15, was promised to be put in commission just in the second quarter of the year. However, the construction did not progress at all. There wasn’t even a foundation at the site. It was here where managers’ and their employees’ special knowledge in the field of tricking people came in handy. They hoaxed the investors as they could, but Scientology tricks in the end did not help. Already in 2013, many of them began to demand their money back. Elena Zaborskaya vowed to pay it back within six months. But the words remain in the air without much weight to them. By 2014, the "Olymp" PO had already lost several civil cases in St. Petersburg: several shareholders filed civil lawsuits against a company. They demanded one thing: to return the invested funds. In the autumn of 2014, the law enforcement agencies got interested in the construction company. The trick was that "Olymp" didn’t have any construction permits at all.

ЖК "Суздальский дворик"
Residential compound "Suzdal Courtyard Photo:

In January of 2014 the State Commercial Court of St. Petersburg and the Region imposed a penalty for non-payment of the “Olymp’s” contractor’s work in favor of “Primorskaya Companiya”. The claim has been satisfied in the amount of 500 thousand rubles. During March-June of the same year the Leninsky District Court was hearing the administrative cases against Zaborskikh. The applicant was the state consturction supervision and city examination service. The representatives of the state body accused the business woman in broking the law shared-equity construction. The company was fined in the amount of 1 million rubles.

Religious approach

On September 25th, the Scientology Church office on Rosenstein Street was raided by the police investigators of the department of economic security and anti-corruption (ES and AC) of the Admiralty District and the "E" Center. They were interested only in accounting documents of the organization. The search was directly related to the Zaborskikh couple, Yekaterina and Michael. The investigators searched for traces of money transfers made by the spouses in favor of the Church. As the soon published press release said, "confirm financial relations of the Church coordinators with Yekaterina Zaborskikh have been confirmed".

Based on the inspection results, a criminal case under Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (large scale fraud) was initiated against Zaborskikh. In fact, the amount of stolen funds was impressive: the investors have been scammed of 130 million rubles overall. After the visit of the law enforcement authorities, the "Olymp" PO has stopped working, and Yekaterina’s and Michail’s, their company’s and the Scientology Church’s mobile and landline phones stopped responding.

Today, in a criminal case on fraud charges against Yekaterina Zaborskikh at the District Court of St. Petersburg, the episodes related to "Suzdal Courtyard" will be heard. Defense of the Chairwoman of the Board is based on the negation of a criminal component in this case. Her lawyers reckon that the relationships between Zaborskikh and her customers were exclusively in the civil field, and, therefore, the case cannot be heard at the criminal court. Apparently, based on this position they will try to convince the court that there was no intention from their client to deceive the shareholders.  

But we must not forget that "Peterhof Manor", "Trinity Mountain" and "Sunny Meadow" remained on paper. The exact number of their shareholders is still unknown.

It was planned that the residential complex "Trinity Mountain” would cover 30 hectares in Peterhof. First stage development consists of 4 houses with 36 apartments in each. Commissioning time was the second half of 2015. Another stage, "Peterhof Manor" (4-storey building with 36 apartments on the Gostilitsky Highway) was planned to be commissioned in 2014. The "Sunny Meadow" residential compound consists of 40 sites in Vsevolozhsk area waiting for construction to commence.

Construction facing Hubbard

Anyway, the upcoming trial will set the record straight in this complicated and highly destructive and sectarian history. But whether it will make the shareholders consider how much  their credulity contributed to the prosperity of the Scientology Church, it is hard to say. After all, neither Yekaterina, nor her husband Michail, actually did not hide their belief and passion Dianetics. On his pages on social networks, Mikhail Zaborskikh regularly notified his followers on the distribution of L. Ron Hubbard’s works and pleased them with posts, consisting of quotations of the great teacher of Scientology.

In addition, almost all the relationships within "Olymp" were based on Scientology laws, and its business was inspired by its principles of success. And the couple’s business partners were also "these very sectarians", especially among the founders of friendly firms. Therefore, the question "What were the real estate investors thiking?" also is quite relevant. As Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists have long been individuals pursued by the Russian state and law, and the essence of their worship was widely covered in the media. Back in 1996, by the Resolution of the State Duma the "Scientology Church " has been declared to be a destructive sect, and the Orthodox Church declared the Church a Satan cult.

Chronicles of confrontation in St. Petersburg. In 2006, the city officials evicted Scientologists from the mansion on Ligovsky Avenue, taking advantage of the fact that the rent was not paid in time. Then, the Prosecutor's Office in a private prosecution appealed to the court demanding to ban the activities of Hubbardists. In July of the year 2007, the City Court satisfied the prosecutors’ claim and decided to terminate the organization’s activities. Cassation in the Supreme Court did not change anything. The SC upheld the judgment. Formally, Scientology seized to exist, however, it has risen like a phoenix from the ashes in the form of a "religious group called the "Scientology Church of St. Petersburg".


Photo: The church

Today Hubbardists’ activities are investigated by the departments of the most "competent authorities". Here's what the FSB experts say about the activities of Scientologists:

"Hubbardists are very mobile. Everyone has long known that their struggle is not for the soul, but for the people’s wallets. In the modern context, attracting adherents by leaflets and questionnaires is no longer effective. Therefore, they are completely focused on business. This is business in its pure form or under the color of charity. For example, their programs "Narconon", "Criminon". Today, human rights organizations are in fashion. And the Scientologists have one: "Civil Commission on Human Rights." They are interested in people who have got themselves in trouble, or rather, the relatives of such people, who will be happy for to give their shirt off their back in order to help them. This is the real purpose of Scientology".

Now, we are seeing a clear trend of the cult focusing on business. Not only are they trying to cheat in the real estate field. They mimic and trade courses and trainings of various kinds. They promise to improve anything. From hair growth to the level of sales. But the goal is always the same, to attract as many followers and get all they can from them.

In a word, they say in law enforcement, spiritual or psychological health has nothing to do with this. This is the world of fraud, full of illusions. Only magicians of new religions do not offer newly-minted Pinocchios to bury coins and water them to make a money tree grow. They only show the image of the tree and convince you that after another five or ten golden coins, at the next "level", you will surely see it.



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