An alleged pimp from Lisburn fled his family home after being exposed in an undercover newspaper investigation, a court heard on Tuesday.
Police claimed Paul Ervine went on the run to England and Wales, leaving behind a “Dear John” letter for his wife.
The 60-year-old is charged with running a brothel in south Belfast, along with controlling and inciting prostitution for gain.
Paul Ervine insists he was only acting as a commissioned agent for escorts.
He was granted bail despite a detective claiming he could not be trusted to remain in Northern Ireland.
Ervine was arrested last week following an investigation stretching back to last August.
Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard how a Sunday Life journalist met him after answering an online advert for escorts.
He was secretly recorded and filmed going into “candid” detail about the work involving sex in exchange for cash, a judge was told.
“There could be no misunderstanding what would be expected of the reporter,” the detective said.
After a second meeting the journalist was said to have revealed her real identity, offering Ervine the right to reply.
“When the newspaper published he just upped and left, and has not returned to the family address, having left behind a Dear John letter,” according to the detective.
“He has effectively been on the run ever since.”
Ervine, who is currently of no fixed abode, was granted bail to stay at hostel accommodation agreed with police.