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Swiss man charged in Singapore sex scandal

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15:08 CEST+02:00

A scandal over an underage Singaporean prostitute widened on Wednesday after a Swiss man and a prominent Singaporean business figure were accused of being among her clients.

Swiss national Jürg Bürgin, 40, and Howard Shaw, 41, a member of a famous Asian cinema and property clan, were charged with having paid sex with a woman under the age of 18, an offence punishable by up to seven years in prison.

In charge sheets seen by AFP, Bürgin was accused of paying the girl twice for sex in luxury hotels while Shaw allegedly procured her services once.

Local media reports said the girl was 17 when the alleged offences took place between September 2010 and February 2011.

Singapore media websites said Bürgin is a former executive at Swiss banking giant UBS in Singapore but UBS had no comment on the report.

Banking sources said Bürgin quit UBS earlier this year as executive director in the operations department, a backroom function.

Shaw is a grandson of the late Runme Shaw, who with his brother Run Run Shaw set up film distribution giant Shaw Organisation, which now has wide-ranging property and business interests as well as charitable activities.

So far, 48 men have been charged in connection with the girl, who worked for a now defunct online prostitution website.

Until the scandal, Howard Shaw was better known as the former executive director of the non-profit Singapore Environmental Council, which championed green causes. He quit in 2011 to join an investment holding company.

The other accused men include a former school principal, a senior civil servant and a naval officer.

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