Tom Cruise named in $250 million Scientology racketeering lawsuit

By Graham Smith
Last updated at 7:48 PM on 31st July 2008

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise has been named in a $250million lawsuit against the Church of Scientology

Tom Cruise has been named in a $250million lawsuit that is being brought against the Church of Scientology.

Former Scientologist Peter Letterese filed legal papers in Florida on July 15 alleging that members of the church harassed him after he left, reports the New York Daily News.

Letterese wants the church, which he calls a ‘crime syndicate’, broken up under America’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) law which has been used by federal authorities to tackle Mafia families.

He alleges Cruise, an open Scientologist, promotes the church using his celebrity.

The lawsuit says Scientology head David Miscavage is ‘aided and abetted by the actions of Tom Cruise, his right-hand man for foreign and domestic promotion, as well as for foreign and domestic lobbying.

‘He has assisted the syndicate in acquiring funds and (made) his own donations of money believed to be in the multiple tens of millions of dollars.’

Letterese, who has long been critical of the church, claims a Scientologist phoned his lawyer at home, and told his lawyer’s wife he was her husband’s homosexual lover.

However investigator Paul Barresi, who has worked for Cruise in the past and brought the legal papers to the attention of the New York Daily News, said: ‘Letterese is just using a celebrity name to get attention.’

Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology, said: ‘This is a frivolous suit based on falsehoods.’

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