May 19th, 2011
04:38 AM GMT
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(CNN) – A unit of insurer Munich Re awarded high-performing agents with a 2007 party in Budapest with 20 prostitutes, according to a story published Wednesday by Handelsblatt, a leading German business newspaper.

According to a story preview published on the Handelsblatt website, about 100 guests gathered at the Gellert spa “and transformed the historic site into an open-air brothel.”

Handelsblatt reported that women wore armbands: red for hostesses, yellow for sexual favors and white for prostitutes reserved for top executives and agents. Guests coming into the party were searched before entry and forbidden from taking cameras inside, according to one guest Handelsblatt interviewed.

The newspaper said the prostitutes would get a stamp on their forearm to keep a tally of services through the night.

The company confirmed to CNN's Diana Magnay the incident occurred. Alexander Becker, a spokesman for the Munich Re subsidiary Ergo Versicherungsgruppe said that in June 2007  "there was an incentive trip of one of our sales organizations to Budapest and it is true that several prostitutes attended one of the evenings of this multi-day event."

He could not comment on media reports that prostitutes wore colour-coded armbands depending on the seniority of those who wanted to have sex with them, nor that their arms were stamped by each person who did have sex with them.

Nor could he comment on Handelsblatt's reporting that sexual acts took place in public display and that four poster beds covered with drapes were arranged around the natural springs where the party took place.   "I don't know what happened in detail," Becker told CNN.

"The persons responsible are no longer with us," Becker said. There were two people responsible for Hamburger Mannheimer (HMi – the sales organisation in question) who "must have known about the party," Becker said, the last of whom left the company in 2009.  "The Ergo board only came to know about the it when those responsible had left the company."

Becker said media reports that there were 100 sales agents at the party were "probably a bit on the high end."  Becker wasn't sure whether there were any female sales agents attending but that he thought it was "more or less mostly men."

The sex party “is not in line with company  policy," Becker said, "and we made it pretty clear and the new management which came in in 2007 made it clear that such events should not happen again."

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. deepwater805

    I wonder if Munich Re is doing any hiring?

    May 19, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  2. Fonseka

    Germans still show primitive behavior of the Neanderthals.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  3. malcolm

    thank they still hiring...

    May 19, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  4. John

    Better than a gold watch, although I don't think I'd want sloppy-seconds from my coworkers.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:55 am |
  5. fifth horseman

    That's horrible. Why is it any of my business?

    May 19, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  6. hansel

    So women who got the most stamps were rewarded too? Shakes head on people behaving like pigs.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  7. Coco

    Duh...are we now pretending this doesn't happen often all over de world ?????

    May 19, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  8. Chris

    So? Do a really good job and you'll get a paid vacation and a hot chick to screw. Standard high level rewards for the past 5000 years. And like it or not, the only thing that changes are names and faces. Sad but true.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  9. sage

    Boy, I bet this has the GOP fuming considering that it trumps their LA meeting in a BD/SM club.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  10. sage

    Well, prostitution is legal in Germany as well as most of Europe. If the U.S. would make prostitution legal the $14 trillion debt will be erased with in year from income taxes from hookers. And we would be able to the thank Catholic Priests, Evangelical Pastors, as well as the Baptists. If there is one thing a Christian loves, great sex. Kinda liberating is it not?

    May 19, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  11. Brian

    Who cares? Why should this be illegal? If people want to prostitute themselves – let them! And if sex is a good incentive to improve employee performance, by all means let the best employees have it!

    May 19, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  12. Laughing at the idiots

    This is hardly shocking news. This happens all the time. Those being so judgmental are probably the right wing Christians who think that because they believe in fairy tales, they have some kind of right to pass judgement on others.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  13. Kevin

    Wow, that´s a flash news! The same things happen also in the US. Hey guys, wake up!

    May 19, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  14. Jeff

    @Brian: Who cares?....those people who find it necessary to impose their values and morals onto others....those people who think they know what is better for other people.....those people who want to control and criminalize something that takes place between two consenting adults....those people who think nothing of taking someone or going on a date and paying/receiving free dinner, movie and drinks and then later having sexx together. They somehow are able to think in their own minds that this isn't prostitution when in actuality it is and is just a big cover up. If you are woman who is not paying for at least half of all expenses you and your man have ARE a prostitute just the same. If you are the man, you are a John just the same. Just like taxes, goods and services are valued just the same as receiving cash in exchange for something. Say it isn't so and you are just in denial and unable to see things for what they actually are.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  15. TheDood

    So what! A company that rewards good work, in a country where the law dictates a 37 1/2 hour work week no less! I don't know about the rest of the world, but I can tell you what happens in the U.S. and Canada. You work 80 hours a week for years, you call in sick just ONCE, or you put in for a long earned vacation during an "inconvenient" time for the company, and what happens? They boot your a$$ out the door!

    May 19, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  16. HAh

    I'm just surprised they were female prostitutes.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  17. paul

    Business as usual in Germany, I can promise you that.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  18. André

    It seems most people have not evolved beyond their animal origin, needing to satisfy their dominating instincts rather than intellect.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  19. sundance

    aughh.. cant read the article.. its all german to me.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  20. Azd

    Interesting: "that women wore armbands: red for hostesses, yellow for sexual favors and white for prostitutes reserved for top executives and agents."

    Armbands? I thought Germans would know better. Obviously, this posse of top earners failed history 101.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  21. Anil

    This is not news. Almost every company on this planet engages in this to some degree or another.

    At least the Germans have come clean unlike the pretentious perverts in Armani suits (starting from the former head of the IMF)

    May 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  22. Summer Seale

    People are waaaayyyyyy too easily offended. I just hope that they had hot guys for the female executives.... =)

    Now, if they didn't have any of those (hot guys, or female executives)...then I'd be upset about it. =)

    May 19, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  23. SLK

    We should all not buy german goods and dissassociate ourselves from germans

    May 19, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  24. Rambo

    Germans may not like to borrow money to bail out the south european countries, because they think they don´t work hard.But what a good example the germans are!

    May 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  25. PKate

    It does happen all over. But consider this...If a company condones screwing women wih armbands clients aren't far behind!

    May 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  26. Kevin

    @ paul
    Business as usual in Germany, I can promise you that.

    Paul that is nonsense! We do a lot of business with german firms. Absolutely unusual for Germany.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  27. RichP, easton, pa

    Whats the difference between a politician and prostitute, nothing.,

    May 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  28. Jim

    @Laughing at the idiots & Jeff:

    Isn't it ironic that you somehow manage to pass judgement on Christians (apparently right wing) when normal posters dissaprove of this behaviour. Would your views remain the same if these prostitutes were under age? No woman can aspire to having a normal healthy family life and be a prostitutem, but you somehow try to justify it as being consentual! I guess you're the type of person that would see no moral dilemma if your own daughter or sister were to engage in such consentual behaviour right? Lemme guess, you justify your own practises as it is 'consentual'.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  29. Balazs

    Germans are decent people when they are at home with their families, but lose control when abroad. Just like Americans, Brits and Frenchmen.
    Have you ever been to Cancun or Pattaya? You know what I mean...

    May 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  30. Mac

    I take it there aren't many women execs at this company. Typical behaviour from this class of men and I wonder how many are married.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  31. Mike Linski

    And the point of the story is?
    Prostitution should be legal and regulated for health reasons and keep it off the streets.
    It's going to happen whether you like it or not and YOUR moral misplaced values may not be everyone's.
    I still don't understand why the United States Government is still trying to dictate what goes on between consenting adults in their bedrooms as if they know what's best for us. My tax dollars at work telling me what I can and cannot do.

    The only one's that are against prostitution anyway is the Church who also believe in invisible men that watch your every move to pass judgment but house wives and girlfriends that don't like the competition.

    What man would ever marry or stay with one woman if he had a choice between some prude or a hot chick that will do anything he wants for a couple hundred dollars. If he does eventually marry then when she doesn't satisfy him after she spends all his hard earned money she ends up with 75% of all his possessions. Of course no woman is going to allow prostitution.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  32. DiemC

    Wow, I bet bill clinton has already applied!

    May 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  33. AchDu

    I will bet that Munich RE – all units within – discriminates against women.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  34. Anand

    They just fired two guys who were responsible for planning this. Considering the women had more than "one stamp" each – would assume that the larger section of the attending employees also "participated" in the format – any official action against them?

    On a cultural note – this is extremely unusual for any company around the world. Anyone who thinks this is normal for Germans – is just uninformed and showing it off in full light.

    May 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  35. Lenny

    What's the harm? Sounds like good times!

    May 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  36. power4things

    Well, Budapest certainly has plenty of help available for this sort of soire, but how can they organize this, top company execs endorse this by attending, then they fire two scapegoats? Like, no one knew? And, if it's not wrong, why fire anybody? Like Captain Renault holding his winnings at Rick's, "I'm shocked! There's gambling, here!" OK, let's try Germans just enjoying the Greater Reich ... you pick. Plus, hansel, sage and PKate – good points!

    May 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  37. Rachel

    I wonder how the execs wifes feel about this.... and more importantly the female executives feel....this is a clear sexual harassment case...although the prostitutes were hired through a third party...the fact that the event occurred creates a sexually hostile working environment for employees of the said company.

    May 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  38. Randy

    Prostitution is legal and regulated in both Germany and Hungary. If what happened is against company policy for Munich Re, that's an internal matter. Otherwise, until there is evidence that underage or forced prostitution occurred, there is no violation of law. Sure, some of our puritanical Americans will be offended, but they are offended by everything.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  39. MarcD

    Makes me wonder what kind of environment the top women executives work in at Munich Re (or are there any women so far up the ladder there?). To those who think this is "typical all over the world"...please, list the names of the companies you know of who also reward their male execs like this. Then, CNN can ask the CEO's just how typical they think the practice is.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  40. ffff

    I'd work for them in a heartbeat...!!!!

    May 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  41. Tad Pole

    I also wanted to comment that although one might find this to be *morally wrong*, there is nothing illegal about it, as prostitution is legal in Germany.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  42. BB

    Hey, it's probably less expensive than giving them huge bonuses. Maybe we should adopt such policies here too!

    May 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  43. Random

    The problem of keeping or making prostitution legal, it can create a market for the greedy that will result in kidnapping girls, especially foreign girls, to make a profit.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  44. Babak from Los Angels

    So what? Is this something new? Why do men work their butt off to be wealthy? Why do women chase them? This is what makes the world go around ... grow up!

    May 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  45. EM

    Now that this is in all the newspapers, I can only imagine the wives of those agents and executives who attended that party now confronting their husbands. "You went on that business trip to Budapest four years ago and you were doing WHAT???"

    May 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  46. jack

    Arm bands and stamps on people ! Sounds to much like Nazi era arm bands and tatoos stamped on Jews. Both are an attempt to dehumanise. One is used for killing one is used for sexual gratification. Both dehumanise.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  47. Don Canard

    I'm glad the ladies didn't get a six-digit number on their arms wie in den alten Zeiten. Schweine.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  48. jumpinjezebel

    Them Germans keep this up and they'll be kicking our ass even more than they are. They have better health care, are more prosperous and their economy is doing better. "One thing I ain't never done, is have too much fun."

    May 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  49. TheBeav

    Hey Wally, did you ever notice that only the executives get the girls with the white armbands?

    May 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  50. Barnaby

    I took those waters at Gellert a few months ago..... not sure I'd like to think about it again.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  51. Jayson Rex

    Sex? God forbid! We are ... Americans.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  52. embezzlement

    Using corporate funds to spend on drugs and prostitution. It's not the immorality, It's call corporate embezzlement

    May 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  53. Moral corruption

    Corporate executives and management or corrupt. what else is new.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    NAZI ARMBANDS. WHo wants to go home to their wives tonight? AHHHHHHHHHHH

    May 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  55. Mona

    What do you think goes on Wall Street here in the US? Or behind closed doors at certain churches here in the US and so on and so forth. Take a look at yourself, America, then judge. At least this German company is owning this event that was organized by folks that are no longer there. Here in the US, great efforts would be made to cover something like this up. This German company is taking full responsibility, and that is the right thing to do. I

    May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  56. Paul

    Assuming they also had male prostitutes available for women employees, and assuming the whole thing was done descretely and with class, and with no unwelcome sexual advances or sexual provocations from the prostitutes, then I don't see the problem. No different from any other voluntary services for employees.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  57. Me


    May 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  58. Ruth in Ohio


    May 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  59. Oleg Za German

    20 hookers for 100 dudes, I wonder how the arranged the queue. Anyhow, kudos to the Germans for incentivating high productivity, may all companies follow this great example (a better ratio is required though)

    May 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  60. dave

    lots of men go to hookers - loosers, cowards, cowardly loosers, losing cowards

    i hope the hookers showered between coworkers

    May 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  61. dave

    Everything goes to the agents and underwriters

    Claims people don't get anything

    May 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  62. Kirill

    I guess the ones that underperformed and did not make the party, got jealous and sold everyone out :)

    May 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  63. manox

    i wonder if the imf dude was in..

    May 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  64. deshilund

    I applied to the company.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  65. Edward

    Well, as long as they were wearing arm bands... would fabric patches have been a tad TOO German?

    May 20, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  66. Jimmy

    It seems that the party was very well organized, though.

    May 20, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  67. Kari

    Stamps, color coded arm bands-sounds like a very organized party planner.

    May 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  68. Nate

    If Munich Re was anything of a company worth it's salt they would round up everyone who attended that party regardless of their complicity in organizing it and wholesale fire the whole lot of them.

    May 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm |

    You FOOLS! How else would the girls be paid for 'services rendered?' That must be the reason for the stamping on the arms. This was a business transaction to them. A morale booster to the employees invited. Who wouldn't work harder all year to be rewarded with this, even though some of you think this is base, it is obviously motivating...

    May 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  70. nateq

    yeah, i'd go.
    so i'm a pig. at least i'm honest.

    May 21, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  71. John Galt

    Who cares? Why be such a prude?

    May 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    My sympathies to women who ended up with these men...and those 'wannabes' in this forum.

    May 22, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  73. Joe

    I used to work at a company that was acquired by Munich Re. Apparently the fact that a lot of us had ethics bothered them since they laid off over 10% of the company.. AFTER stating that they would not lay people off. This including folks that were within weeks of retirement..
    Not my idea of a company with peoples best interests in mind. Just profit..

    May 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  74. blazer

    i want to join the company

    May 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  75. Hugh Jarce

    I see the concept of the untermensch is still alive and well in today's "modern Germany".

    There's just something about the teutonic mindset that sees foreigners as people of lesser value.

    May 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  76. girls rule

    Unlike most American wives, these 'prostitutes' must have been sexually attractive and not a bunch of overweight complainers.

    May 24, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  77. mark

    @girls rule... if the 'prostitutes' complained the pimps probably would have hurt them or their children.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  78. King

    Breaking News: Munich Re's employment applications rise 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000%


    June 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  79. Eric

    What is surprising is the amount of "business people" who are not surprised this happens, so it goes without saying that this behavior, is not new to anyone, which poses the the question. Why is it news?

    June 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
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