The Church of Scientology has gone on trial in the French capital, Paris, accused of organised fraud.
The case centres on a complaint by a woman who says she was pressured into paying large sums of money after being offered a free personality test.
The church, which is fighting the charges, denies that any mental manipulation took place.
France regards Scientology as a sect, not a religion, and the organisation could be banned if it loses the case.
It is the first time the church has appeared as a defendant in a fraud case in France. Previous court cases have involved individual Scientologists.
Church of Scientology convicted of fraud in France
A Paris court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than euro600,000 ($900,000) on Tuesday but stopped short of banning the group as prosecutors had demanded.
The group’s French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.
The court convicted the Church of Scientology’s French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used “commercial harassment” against recruits…
…However, the court did not order the Church of Scientology to shut down, ruling that it would be likely to continue its activities anyway “outside any legal framework.”
Prosecutors had urged that the group be dissolved in France and fined euro2 million ($3 million).