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.


Mumbai DJ swaps deck for doctor’s scrubs to fight coronavirus

Updated 28 May 2020

Mumbai DJ swaps deck for doctor’s scrubs to fight coronavirus

  • DJ Sanjay Meriya, known as The Spindoctor in Mumbai music circles, began work last month as a medical volunteer

MUMBAI: As India’s financial capital Mumbai battled a growing number of coronavirus cases, local DJ Sanjay Meriya set aside his turntable and dusted off a long-unused medical degree in order to help out.
Meriya, 30, known as The Spindoctor in Mumbai music circles, began work last month as a medical volunteer after spotting a government newspaper ad asking for help.
He has chiefly been visiting a slum in one of Mumbai’s worst-hit suburbs, clad in a protective suit and gloves, to instruct local residents about the precautions they should take to ward off the coronavirus.
“I’m very patriotic. I can battle this way (as a doctor),” Meriya, who signed up as a volunteer for at least three months, told Reuters.
Mumbai accounts for more than 32,000 of India’s 150,000 cases of the coronavirus, making it the worst-hit city. With government hospitals short of beds and health officials overworked, volunteers like Meriya are all the more important.
Meriya began to dabble in DJing as a hobby at around the age of 20 while studying for his medical degree, but said it then “took over me” — much to his family’s dismay.
“They hated it. They still hate it,” he said of his decision to devote himself to being a DJ.
Although worried about his potential exposure to the virus, Meriya’s family is thrilled to see him back in medicine.
“They now have a lot to share with all our relatives, if you know what I mean when it comes to Indian families,” he said.