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'Madam' Anna Gristina loses New York bail bid


A British woman accused of masterminding a multi-million dollar New York prostitution ring has lost a fresh bid to be released from jail on reduced bail.

Anna Gristina, 44, originally from Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, is currently in the city's notorious Rikers Island prison, having failed to post the $1m in cash (£630m) or £2bn (£1.3m) insurance bond needed for her release.

In a Manhattan court, the mother of four's lawyer failed to get that sum reduced, resulting in Gristina being returned to prison.

Gristina is charged with one count of promoting prostitution. At a previous hearing she pleaded not guilty.

It is claimed that the Scottish woman set up a high-end call girl service operating out of apartment in New York's well-heeled Upper East Side.

Over a period of 15 years, the alleged brothel boss arranged for wealthy clients to meet up with prostitutes, who charged up to $1,500 (£940) for their services, it is said.

In the process she amassed a fortune of $15m (£9.4m) in personal profit, much of which has been squirreled away, prosecutors say.

At previous bail hearings, prosecutors argued that the cash, combined with a contacts book containing the names of rich and powerful clients, made her a flight risk.

But defence lawyers have dismissed the claim, saying that the alleged New York madam does not have "two nickels to rub together".

A judge upheld the bail conditions set at an earlier hearing. Gristina was ordered back to Rikers Island after the session.