Online vice case: Swiss can't remember if he had sex with escort

Former banker Juerg Buergin denied on Monday that he actively sought out the services of an escort below 18 years of age.

The 41-year-old Swiss national said in his defence that he could not remember if he had sex with the escort, then 17, whose age was given on the website as 18.

Buergin, who is accused of two counts of having commercial sex with the minor, said he relied on the age indicated on the website called theviemodels.

He said he did not check the identity card of the escort nor any of the escorts he had booked with the online agency as he did not think any of them would have shown their identity cards even if he had asked. He said he was misled by both the agency and the girl that she was 18.

Asked by his lawyer Selva K. Naidu if he recognised the girl when she gave her evidence in court last week, he said no.

Buergin, who said he was a "regular client" of the escort agency, said he did not have sex with all the women he booked over a 14-month period from 2010 to 2011. "I would have full sexual intercourse, oral sex or in some cases it was masturbation only,'' he said. Later on, under cross-examination, he said these were circumstances where, despite having intended for sexual intercourse, he could have been "tired or distracted by ongoing urgent business issues".

The defence closed its case. Parties will meet on Thursday for submissions.

If convicted, Buergin can be jailed for up to seven years and/or fined on each charge.

So far, 18 men have been convicted of having paid sex with the minor. They were given between eight weeks and 16 weeks' jail.