TWO British men have been arrested in Paris on suspicion of running a multi-million-dollar call girl ring that allegedly supplied prostitutes to princes, film stars and captains of industry.
David Mathew Barrett, 33, and Ramsay Attallah, 38, are being questioned by French police following a two-year undercover investigation by the Paris vice squad, which led to their arrest on 21 March.
The pair are accused of supplying prostitutes to the jet set, allegedly charging their rich and often famous clients 1,000 (670) an hour. They are also being investigated over allegations of supplying prostitutes to a member of the Saudi Royal family who allegedly paid nearly 2 million for three months of loyal service.
If convicted of "aggravated procuring", Barrett and Attallah could face up to 20 years in prison.
Ten others have been arrested in connection with the case, including a French chauffeur, two escort boys, two Brazilian transvestites and five alleged call girls, including a former Miss South America and four Brazilians.
Police confirmed to The Scotsman that the two Britons had been arrested and were being questioned in relation to the allegations.
Shortly before their arrest, an exotic troupe had returned from two months in Dubai, allegedly as guests of a member of the Saudi Royal family.
According to the popular weekly news magazine VSD, the Saudi prince, who has not been named, paid 1.9 million for three months of attention. Some 40 members of the call girl ring from Poland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the United States, Venezuela and Brazil allegedly travelled to Dubai at the end of January and were installed in a royal palace.
The group included several models as well as male prostitutes and transvestites. Members of the ring were paid 27,600 each, the magazine said, as well as receiving presents including watches and jewellery from the Saudi royal.
The group returned to Paris via Beirut the day hostilities broke out in the region, some of them travelling first class, VSD reported. Upon their return to Paris, the group took up residence in an elegant block opposite the flat where Barrett and Attallah lived.
The prostitutes said they were under constant surveillance and were forbidden from making telephone calls.
The two men were arrested at the luxury flat they shared on the wealthy Avenue Marceau in the well-to-do eighth arrondissement.
Among the items seized from the flat were lists of names of men and women complete with medical reports certifying the absence of sexually transmitted diseases, several thousand euros in cash, mobile phones, CD-ROMS, airline tickets, photocopies of passports and a lap-top computer.
Investigators say it is too early to put a figure on the fortune amassed, but say they have already found nearly 350,000 in cash stashed in hotel and bank safes.
Lawyers for the two men say their clients are innocent. Barrett reportedly told investigators he had only introduced people and had forced nobody to have sex.
Alain Fraitag, lawyer for Attallah, said his client was simply "a friend" of Mr Barrett and had played no part in the affair.