Twenty prostitutes and canopy beds in an open-air bordello: A Hamburg-based insurance company has acknowledged treating its best agents to a debaucherous party in Budapest during which sex workers were color-coded according to their purpose and given stamps to tally each encounter. The company magazine later gushed about the "killer fun."
Hamburg Mannheimer International (HMI), now part of the prominent international insurer ERGO, took 100 of its best employees to the Hungarian capital on an incentive trip in June 2007, business daily Handelsblatt reported Thursday. There, the company rented out the historic Gellért thermal baths and transformed the spa into a brothel, participants told the paper.
"At the entrance me and other guests were searched, just like security at an airport," one man said, adding that they were "forbidden under threat of penalty" from taking photos or filming the party. Then the women arrived and "showed us what they had," another participant told the paper. "It was clear to everyone that they were hookers."
According to Handelsblatt, the prostitutes were marked by color to indicate which services they would provide. "The women wore red and yellow bands," one guest said. "The first were there as hostesses, the others would fulfil all other wishes. There were also women with white bands -- they were reserved for the executives and the very best agents."
'A Grave Violation'
The event at the thermal bath complex also included curtained canopy beds. "Everyone could take a woman to one of the beds and do what he wanted," a participant said. "After each encounter the women were given a stamp on their forearm. That's how a record was kept of how often each woman was frequented." Later the company magazine HMI Profil reported on the party, writing that it had been "killer fun," Handelsblatt reported.
An ERGO spokeswoman admitted that company research had confirmed the sex party took place, calling it a "grave violation of company rules." The responsible board member and other managers have since left the company, the spokesperson added.
But guests from the party told the paper that a number of company leaders present that night remain employed by ERGO, which is owned by leading re-insurance company Munich Re.
An ERGO spokesman confirmed the sex party to SPIEGEL ONLINE, explaining that its existence came to light during a general meeting one month ago, after which company representatives confirmed the accusations. "We're now examining other events at HMI," he said. "According to our current knowledge this was an isolated incident."