Dozens of hook­ers earned £100K plus £75,000 raked in ev­ery Fri­day night Sports stars and celebs were clients

Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By HARRY BALBEIG news@sun­daysport.co.uk

A BUSI­NESS­MAN who raked in more than a £1mil­lion a year through a brothel dis­guised as a Five-Star li­censed mas­sage par­lour has been jailed.

Ross Law­son, 32, raked in £75,000 ev­ery Fri­day night of­fer­ing X-rated ser­vices to a stream of wealthy clients in­clud­ing sports stars and show­biz celebri­tiesat the up­mar­ket bor­dello.

Dozens of pros­ti­tutes earned up to £100,000 a year at the sex den, run un­der the noses of coun­cil chiefs in Cam­den, north Lon­don, as a le­git­i­mate health club.

Law­son got booze and mas­sage li­cences from coun­cil for the Steam and Sun Health Club, and kept up to date with taxes and national in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions.

But in fact, he op­er­ated an 18-hour-a-day brothel for seven years, of­fer­ing as many as 27 pros­ti­tutes each night in pri­vate rooms with pole danc­ing and X-rated videos.

Law­son used the pro­ceeds to pay off £8,000-a-month credit card bills, and to fund his and his fam­ily’s lav­ish life­style. He al­legedly held up to 30 bank ac­counts, in­clud­ing an off­shore ac­count in Jersey.

When de­tec­tives raided the four-storey build­ing in Somers Town, cen­tral Lon­don, in Fe­bru­ary last year, they found men and women hav­ing sex, 27 scant­ily-clad women, and £3,000 in cash in a jar on the bar.

Law­son, of St. Al­bans, Herts, the owner and man­ager of the brothel, was con­victed at Black­fri­ars Crown Court of run­ning a brothel and money laun­der­ing the prof­its.

Judge Peter Mur­phy jailed him for two years, but warned he would have faced a longer sen­tence if the pros­ti­tutes had not been work­ing in such good con­di­tions.

He said: “The Sun and Steam has been de­scribed as be­ing as le­git­i­mate as could be as a crim­i­nal en­ter­prise.

“It was in any view a re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful one.

“I am in no po­si­tion to try to cal­cu­late the prof­its, but they must have been very con­sid­er­able, and sup­ported an af­flu­ent life­style for your­self and mem­bers of your fam­ily.

“This is a case of a long­stand­ing, well or­gan­ised, and prof­itable busi­ness which turned over a great deal of money.”

The judge said many of the pros­ti­tutes in­ter­viewed by po­lice had com­pli­mented Law­son’s style of run­ning the brothel, run­ning an ex­pen­sive bar and le­git­i­mate sauna and steam rooms, and charg­ing a 30 per cent credit card fee, but not tak­ing any of the women’s earn­ings.

“You were not tak­ing ad­van­tage of them in any way.” he said.

“It has been urged upon me that I could pos­si­bly sus­pend the sen­tence, but the scale of the en­ter­prise ren­ders that im­pos­si­ble. But I will say the sen­tence I pass will be a good deal less than it would have been be­cause of the con­di­tions I’ve re­ferred to.”

The prose­cu­tor told the court the brothel had an “absolutely stag­ger­ing turnover”, with Law­son ad­mit­ting him­self the last ten months of busi­ness yielded £1.1mil­lion.

He said: “The scale of the op­er­a­tion was truly re­mark­able, and on the oc­ca­sion of the raid there were 25 or so women work­ing there.

‘The masseuses were de­scribed as busty, horny and en­er­getic’

“I have no doubt that was true on many evenings.”

The club’s web­site boasted “in­ter­na­tional ladies”, VIP rooms and two pent­house suites, and billed it­self as Lon­don’s “only Five-Star mas­sage par­lour”.

It boasted that “many celebri­ties and well known ath­letes” were clients, but made no men­tion of of­fer­ing sex, though it de­scribed masseuses as “busty”, “horny” and “en­er­getic”.

In­ter­nal emails from Law­son warned pros­ti­tutes to of­fer “a com­plete ser­vice” to cus­tomers, even if they were fat and ugly.

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