Tim Varchmin, 44, who worked as a civil and criminal law judge in Germany before securing banking jobs with JP Morgan and Clifford Chance, was accused of having more than 100 indecent images of children on his computer and phone
A former Barclays banker and judge has been found not guilty of possessing indecent images of children after he blamed a Grindr ‘chem-sex’ party guest.
Tim Varchmin, 44, who worked as a civil and criminal law judge in Germany before securing jobs with JP Morgan and Clifford Chance, was accused of having more than 100 indecent images of children on his computer and phone.
Officers raided his luxury flat in Lancaster Gate, West London, in October 2014 where they found 830 milligrams of the class A drug crystal meth and a crack pipe on his coffee table.
Varchmin denied any wrongdoing, saying he would invite men for drugs and sex parties through the dating app Grindr and allow them to do as they pleased.
He began to host the parties with his former German boyfriend Jacob after learning they both caught a drug resistant strain of HIV, where Varchmin admitted he had unprotected sex with men.
Varchmin told the court: ‘It is a life-changing event. It’s something you have to come to terms with. That bonded us together but at the time we were fighting over it. We developed a more aggressive sexual life.
‘We had the feeling that now these stages of HIV were not a concern any more, we could have more sex with other men, unprotected sex as well. That was our idea.’
Following a lengthy and drawn-out legal battle, Varchmin was found not guilty of seven charges of possessing indecent images of children and possessing 830 milligrams of crystal meth after three hours of deliberation by the jury.
Sky Broadband alerted the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection team regarding suspicious searches on Varchamin’s computer.
The court was told how officers carried out a coordinated raid at Varchmin’s home addresses in Lancaster Gate and Edgware Road, as well as his office in Canary Wharf.
Jurors were told how officers ‘pounded on the door’ for five minutes and then smashed the door down when no-one answered. Upon entering, they found 45,000 images and 106 movies on his iPhone and Apple computer, the vast majority of which were ‘adult porn’.
Varchmin pleaded that the crack pipe and crystal meth was not his, and that he only took GHB.
Prosecutor Roger Daniells-Smith said Varchmin had to ‘take responsibility’ for allowing people to come into his house.
He said: ‘If you lie with dogs, you get fleas. If you allow people you do not know to come and use your equipment, you have to be responsible for that equipment.’
Daniells-Smith said the defendent, who was born in Germany, had searched the internet for indecent images of children using Germany words, although Varchmin claimed is could have been his ex-boyfriend.
Varchmin began to host the parties with his former German boyfriend Jacob after learning they both caught a drug resistant strain of HIV
Speaking following the case, Varchmin said: ‘I am grateful that having been so badly let down by those I once trusted, the trust I chose to place in the jury has been repaid.
‘It is absolutely correct that the police act to protect children and minors from sexual abuse. It is absolutely right that those who perpetrate and view sexual abuse of children are prosecuted with vigour.
‘But it is disproportionate to prosecute every case simply as a point of policy where the evidence against a single individual is so weak and where any number of people could have committed the crime.
‘My mistake was to react badly to my HIV diagnosis, to trust those who did not deserve to be trusted and to find solace from the shock of my illness in the self-destructive world of chem-sex.’
The court case has cost Varchmin hundreds of thousands of pounds in earnings, but its drawing to a close has brought an end to what was described as ‘three years of hell’.
Varchmin’s lawyer, Richard Hendron, said: ‘The chem-sex scene in London is at epidemic proportions.
‘Hundreds of gay men are dying in London annually while many more are having their lives destroyed as they spiral out of control, unable to hold down jobs or maintain relationships.
‘More needs to be done to halt this epidemic. Mr Varchmin has got out of the destructive chem-sex scene, but at a huge financial and emotional cost to his life and reputation, betrayed by those he unwisely trusted.’
Varchmin worked as a civil and criminal law judge in Germany before securing banking jobs with Barclays, JP Morgan and Clifford Chance