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Ex-UBS Executive Director Buergin Gets Jail for Underage Sex

Former UBS Executive Director of Operations Juerg Buergin
Juerg Buergin, a former executive director of operations of UBS AG, arrives at the subordinate courts in Singapore on April 30, 2013. Photographer: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Juerg Buergin, a former UBS AG executive director of operations, was sentenced to four months and three weeks in prison for having sex with an underage prostitute in Singapore.

Buergin showed no sign of remorse by standing trial and claiming he was a victim of deception by the girl and her pimp, Singapore Subordinate Courts Judge Eddy Tham said today after convicting the 41-year-old Swiss national on April 30 of two counts of having sex with a minor.

Prosecutors, who have charged 51 men for sex with the prostitute, had sought a sentence of at least six months for each count. Buergin could have been jailed as long as 7 years and fined for each charge. His lawyer had asked for a sentence in line with the other 18 men who have been jailed for as long as 16 weeks for sex with the same girl after pleading guilty.

Buergin, who was married with two children at the time of the offenses, was handcuffed and led away by two policemen. He doesn’t intend to appeal his sentence at this time, his lawyer Selva Naidu said.

“He wants to put this behind him and go back home,” Naidu said. Buergin, who left UBS in February 2012 about two months before he was charged, lost his job at the bank because of the case, Naidu had said during the trial.

Higher Standard

Singapore laws impose a higher standard of care to prevent sexual exploitation of minors, Tham had said in convicting Buergin last week.

“Parliament drew a bright line to criminalize commercial sex with minors who are below 18,” he said. “It is an offense even if it can ever be objectively and unanimously agreed that the minor appeared and behaved as if she was indeed older.”

Another 12 men facing the same charges still intend to challenge them, according to their lawyer Subhas Anandan.

“This judge’s word is not the final say,” Subhas said. “There’s no such thing that this is a strict or absolute liability offense,” referring to the legal standard under which a person doesn’t require the intent to commit a crime to be guilty.

The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Buergin Juerg. DAC13762/2012. Singapore Subordinate Courts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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