Europe Edinburgh ‘madam’ Margaret Paterson to hand back £1m

Edinburgh ‘madam’ Margaret Paterson to hand back £1m

Magaret Paterson ran her empire from her flat in Edinburgh
Magaret Paterson ran her empire from her flat in Edinburgh

A woman who made a fortune running a prostitution racket has agreed to hand back more than £1m in crime profits.

Margaret Paterson, 62, was jailed for five years in 2013.

She was convicted of brothel-keeping, money laundering and living off the earnings of prostitution, with the offences aggravated by a connection with serious organised crime.

The Crown brought an action to seize her criminal earnings and settlement has now been reached in the case.

Paterson’s affluent lifestyle came to an end after police raided business and brothel premises in Grosvenor Street in Edinburgh’s West End in September 2011.

Officers found sex toys, 100 boxes of unused designer shoes, a 7ft pile of about 400 designer handbags and evidence of a spending spree in some of the capital’s most exclusive shops.

Credit cards detailing purchases from Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Mulberry were recovered.

Paterson, dubbed “Madam Moneybags”, was also discovered to have more than £200,000 in cash in her home.

Defence counsel Mark Moir said under the terms of the settlement it was agreed that the benefit from his client’s particular crime was £1m and a confiscation order should be made for the same amount.

Judge Lord Boyd of Duncansby gave her six months to pay the £1m.

Paterson’s assets included a property portfolio in Edinburgh, bank accounts, handbags, shoes and jewellery including designer makes such as Prada and £210,571 of seized cash.

Her former co-accused Robert Munro also appeared in the dock to settle a proceeds of crime action brought against him.

His counsel, Tony Lenahan, said under its terms it was accepted that the benefit from his criminal conduct was £544,601 and that a confiscation order should be made in the sum of £96,836.

Inside Paterson's West End home
Inside Paterson’s West End home

Advocate depute Barry Divers told the court that the amount of the figure for the confiscation order in Munro’s case represented his “realisable assets”.

Munro, 63, was also jailed for five years for his role in the venture which exploited vulnerable women.

The pair ran a brothel and escort service which provided prostitutes all over Scotland.

The case was among several called at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday in relation to confiscating proceeds of crime cash from convicted criminals.

Lindsey Miller, procurator fiscal for organised crime and counter terrorism, said: “Today we have removed a vast amount of criminal earnings from organised crime groups operating right across Scotland.

“These cases show the tenacity of law enforcement and prosecutors in pursuing the thing that is most important to criminals – their money.

“Criminals now find themselves not only facing lengthy prison sentences, but they are also subjected to extensive financial investigations by our specialist team of forensic accountants.

“They find that criminal earnings they thought long safe are uncovered, and whenever they cannot be accounted for we will seek to confiscate them and make them all available for use in community projects across Scotland.”

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