Belgium seeks to punish owner of ‘Sugar Daddy’ site

“This digital entrepreneur simply wants to run a dating site, he’s not an accountant of carnal desires,“defense lawyer Eric Cusas insisted. (Supplied)
Updated 06 April 2019

Belgium seeks to punish owner of ‘Sugar Daddy’ site

  • Vedal is also under investigation in France, accused of “aggravated pimping” after publicizing a version of his site on a Paris campus

BRUSSELS: Belgian prosecutors are seeking a suspended prison sentence for an entrepreneur accused of promoting prostitution through a dating site for rich men and young women.
Sigurd Vedal — a 57-year-old Norwegian investor, influencer and “relationship expert,” according to his site RichMeetBeautiful.com — appeared in court on Thursday.
In 2017, as students returned to the Free University of Brussels after their summer break, they were greeted by a truck carrying a mobile advertising hoarding.
The poster showed a woman’s bosom barely covered by a bra and the slogan: “Hey female students, improve your lifestyle, go out with a Sugar Daddy.”
The truck was seized after the university complained to the police, and Vedal has since been arrested and charged with “incitement to debauchery and prostitution.”
Appearing before court on Thursday in Brussels, he insisted that he simply wanted to encourage customers to seek dates that were “out of the ordinary.”
The state prosecutor denounced this argument as “hypocritical” and told the court: “Even if weasel words were used, everyone knew what it was about.
“There are half-dressed women on the site, there are no photos of couples in a restaurant,” she said. “Students are reduced to sex objects that must undress for money.”
In addition to a six-month suspended sentence, prosecutors asked that Vedal be fined 40,000 euros ($45,000) and his company Digisec Media a further 250,000 euros.
“This digital entrepreneur simply wants to run a dating site, he’s not an accountant of carnal desires,“defense lawyer Eric Cusas insisted.
The Belgian court will give its verdict on May 8.
Vedal is also under investigation in France, accused of “aggravated pimping” after publicizing a version of his site on a Paris campus.
RichMeetBeautiful’s Belgian site has been blocked, but a version is available in France under the slogan: “World’s No.1 Millionaire Dating.”
“FIND YOUR PERFECT MATCH FOR A RELATIONSHIP BASED ON LOVE, RESPECT, PASSION AND INTELLECT,” the strapline reads, over a photo of sports cars on the Las Vegas strip.
An older man in a tailored suit is pictured behind a younger blonde woman in a crystal-studded cocktail dress and alongside a luxury superyacht.
Users can sign up for free without proving that they are indeed rich.
A 45-year-old looking for female company is presented with a list of Parisian women in their 20s.
An email to the new prospective client, signed by Vedal, boasts that the site hosts “four sugarbabies for every sugardaddy” searchable by age or ethnicity.
“Get the respect and admiration you deserve from young women eager to learn from an established mentor,” it says.


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.