SINGAPORE: A former senior bank executive charged with organising sex tours involving minors told potential customers about child sex in the Philippines, and asked for "young virgin girls" from the country through a contact on Skype, the State Court heard on the first day of his trial.
He also maintained an active account on a website that caters to deviant sexual practices and lifestyles.
Michael Frank Hartung, 47, a Singapore permanent resident from Germany, was “Lord Protector” on this portal. Going undercover with the alias “Darkthrone”, an officer from the Criminal Investigation Department contacted Hartung to request a trip for “young blood”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim said in his opening statement on Wednesday (May 2).
Hartung said he could make the arrangements, then met police officers by the aliases Paul and Frank in a bar in April 2016 in person to discuss the trip. During the meeting, he allegedly promoted child sex in the Philippines, the court heard. He did not get back to the officers after they discussed dates and prices.
This was not the first time Hartung met undercover police officers who had contacted him for the same purpose.
In September 2015, he met two officers after one of them contacted him through an online messaging service. The officer, who also used an alias, asked for a trip so he could have sex with virgin girls "as young as possible", the court heard.
Hartung said he was able to plan such a trip. They met at the Starbucks branch in Raffles City.
Then, he allegedly got in touch with a contact called "imelda.parado" on Skype to ask for sex from "young virgin girls" from the Philippines on the planned trip dates the next month, the court heard. His contact was not able to meet his requirements, and Hartung did not get back to the officers.
The officers cannot be named due to a gag order.
Hartung, who used to be a senior executive at the Deutsche Bank, was arrested in August 2016 after investigators seized obscene and uncensored films from his home at Simei Green condominium. Thirty-seven items were seized from his home, although a similar search at his workplace found nothing incriminating, the court heard.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he spent more than two decades at Deutsche Bank, starting out as a relationship manager before rising to the post of vice-president of finance. He was charged last year.
If convicted of promoting commercial sex tours involving minors, Hartung could be jailed up to 10 years and fined. His trial will continue for the next two days.