£700k brothel madam launches appeal

Margaret Paterson and Robert Munro. Photograph: Ian Georgeson
Margaret Paterson and Robert Munro. Photograph: Ian Georgeson
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A madam who ran a lucrative prostitution racket and her ex-business partner are seeking to press ahead with appeals against their convictions which earned them five years imprisonment each.

Margaret Paterson, 61, and Robert Munro, 62, were jailed earlier this year after being found guilty of livings on the earnings of prostitution and money laundering.

The pair, along with a former co-accused Ian Goalen, 59, who acted as a driver for their escort business and was sentenced to a 150 hour community payback order, are all being pursued for crime profits in confiscation actions.

But Paterson’s counsel, Gail Gianni, today asked at the High Court in Edinburgh for the confiscation proceedings to be continued to allow the outcome of an appeal. She said: “She is appealing against her conviction and sentence.”

Ms Gianni told judge Lord Bannatyne that a note of appeal had been lodged following the conclusion of a move against her for a financial reporting order.

Judge Michael O’Grady QC granted the orders, which are rarely made in the Scottish courts, against Paterson and Munro for eight years last month. The orders allow for the monitoring of the financial affairs of a convicted person and are aimed at stopping further economic crime.

Lawyers for the pair had argued against the financial reporting orders with Paterson’s counsel claiming there was no indication she would commit a further offence.

Munro’s solicitor advocate Cameron Tait said he had no intention of future involvement with an escort agency and planned to play the bagpipes at social functions on his release.

Advocate depute Barry Divers also asked for the confiscation actions to be continued and said both Paterson and Munro had raised appeals against conviction.

Lord Bannatyne agreed to continue them to May. If the pair’s planned appeals do not get through the sifting process carried out by judges then the confiscation actions could be accelerated.

Paterson was convicted of laundering £700,000 and a further £544,000 while acting with Munro.

Paterson, dubbed “Madam Moneybags”, sought to launder large sums of cash from crime by purchasing luxury goods in volume after she and Munro ran a brothel from Grosvenor Street, in Edinburgh.

Police found a seven feet high pile of designer handbags and about 100 boxes of unused designer shows.