Before her arrest last year from a Paris hotel, forty-five year old Margaret MacDonald ran a thriving sex trade in the guise of an escort agency. Her operations straddled several countries across Europe.

A convent-educated former marketing executive who speaks five foreign languages, MacDonald denied the charge of "aggravating procuring for the purposes of prostitution," telling the court that her girls took part voluntarily and were at liberty to refuse to sleep with clients.

But the prosecutor in the Paris-court accused her of being a "modern pimp."

Remorseless

MacDonald stayed emotionless as the verdict was read out on Thursday.

Her lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny said MacDonald would appeal against her conviction.

Margaret MacDonald ran a thriving sex trade in the guise of an escort agency. Her operations straddled several countries across Europe

"My client is extremely disappointed by this result. She is an extremely fragile woman. In affairs of this nature it is only people like Margaret MacDonald who end up paying. No-one troubles the call girls or the clients," the lawyer said.

Publicity

Dubbed a new "Madame Claude" by the French press after a famous brothel-keeper, MacDonald's trial received blanket coverage in the British papers, which published the proceedings in salacious details.

MacDonald was accused of supplying classy girls to elitist clients, who paid exorbitantly for their services.

She reportedly had no fixed address but traveled from capital to capital organizing the encounters.

The police recovered from her 16 telephone SIM cards and computer records on 538 girls and 56 boys.

Film and book agents are said to be vying to buy up the rights of MacDonald's story.