British diplomats compiled evidence 30 years ago that the founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard, was a “fraud”, according to National Archive papers.
Whitehall officials discovered the science-fiction writer, who invented a religion now followed by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, awarded himself a PhD from a sham college he had acquired in California.
The information was gathered in secret by workers at the British consulate in Los Angeles on behalf of the government, which feared a libel action following its 1968 decision to ban followers from entering Britain to visit the sect’s headquarters in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
The documents show Britain was not alone in probing Scientology. The dossier of evidence, gathered during the 1970s, included the extraordinary claim by an American official that the sect had sent bogus doctors to hypnotise a legal investigator and declare him