A VICE boss facing jail for running a lucrative escort agency has demanded showdown talks with a politician pushing for tougher prostitution laws.
Robert Munro, 61, has challenged Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant to meet him after taking exception to comments made by her in an Evening News article.
Munro, who also faces a Proceeds of Crime trial in September, was angered after the MSP challenged his claims that he had not been involved in prostitution.
He blasted: “Rhoda Grant doesn’t live in the real world and doesn’t have a clue about escort agencies. It’s time she, and the rest of the nation, heard the facts and I am prepared to meet with her to discuss this. Everyone has sex on the brain. We have disclaimers on our site making clear that is not part of our service. An agreement made along those lines would be entirely between the client and the escort.”
He reiterated the business he ran with Margaret Paterson, 61, had been a respectable agency operating within the law.
He continued: “It’s not illegal to run an escort agency. If it was, I wouldn’t have been doing it. We were providing a useful service. I have testaments from disabled men, from men whose marriages have broken up, from elderly or lonely people who are not necessarily looking for sex, but for that human touch, for companionship. I’ve had a disabled client calling me in tears.”
He also rubbished claims made by the MSP that those in charge of the agency had been “lining their pockets off the misery and misfortune of others”, saying: “What a load of tosh. Ask women working for escort agencies – 91 per cent of them will say they don’t want to be in any other profession. They send their children to private schools and live a very comfortable life. Many of them are making more money than a lot of other professionals. All this rubbish about us making millions – it’s absolutely absurd.”
Rhoda Grant, who has proposed a Purchase of Sex Bill in the hope it will lead to the prosecution of the buyers of sex, said she would be “happy” to meet with Munro.
The MSP said: “I have always said I am happy to speak to anyone about these issues. Escort agencies call themselves something different but it is well understood what people are really buying. No one pays that amount of money for companionship.”
Ms Grant also blasted the statements made by Munro regarding disabled and otherwise vulnerable men. She said: “What he’s basically saying is these people are lesser human beings and not entitled to or able to find a real relationship. I know plenty of disabled people in loving relationships. To say to certain categories of people that they have to pay for sex or company is discrimination at its very worst.”
The court found against Munro’s claims he was running a respectable business. He, ex lover Paterson – dubbed Madam Moneybags – and former bank manager Ian Goalen were all found guilty of living off immoral earnings following a month-long trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Their sex empire – based in Grosvenor Street – is believed to have earned them a seven figure sum.