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Former IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn to be Tried for Pimping.

Image: Former IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn to be Tried for Pimping

Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be tried in France on pimping charges, prosecutors said on Friday, after a long inquiry into sex parties attended by the man whose presidential hopes were dashed by a separate 2011 U.S. sex scandal.Investigating judges in the case determined that Strauss-Kahn, 64, should be judged by a criminal court over allegations he was complicit in a pimping operation involving prostitutes at the Carlton hotel in the northern city of Lille.

The decision was a surprise after a public prosecutor recommended in June that the inquiry be dropped without trial and it will thrust Strauss-Kahn’s private life back into the spotlight just as he was putting the U.S. scandal behind him.

His lawyers said there were no legal grounds to try him and he was being targeted because of his notoriety after a New York hotel maid’s charge, later dropped, that he sexually assaulted her in his suite in May 2011 when he was International Monetary Fund chief.

“No offence has been found to exist. So there can be no conviction in this affair,” Frederique Baulieu, one of his lawyers, told BFM TV. “We should be focused on the law, not morality. Sadly, in this affair, investigating magistrates have been led astray by morality.”

Under French law, pimping is a broad crime that encompasses aiding or encouraging prostitution.

Because the parties allegedly involved several prostitutes, Strauss-Kahn will stand trial in Lille on the more serious charge of “aggravated pimping”, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a 1.5 million euros ($2 million) fine.

The former French finance minister has acknowledged attending sex parties in various cities but maintains he was unaware the women taking part were paid sex workers. He has said he is being hounded unfairly over his lifestyle in a country where frequenting prostitutes is not illegal.

“We’re not in the realm of the law, we’re in ideology. We’re sending someone to court for nothing,” Henri Leclerc, another of his lawyers, told Reuters.


Strauss-Kahn went from being a pillar of the global economic elite to a disgraced rape suspect paraded before TV cameras, unshaven and in handcuffs, in a matter of hours after New York police pulled him off an aeroplane and briefly held him in jail.

He quit his IMF post and gave up his aspirations of running for the Socialist Party in the May 2012 presidential election.

The maid eventually dropped her charges and received a settlement from Strauss-Kahn, but on his return to France he was dogged with other allegations of sexual misconduct. The affair set off a soul-searching debate over why French media have often turned a blind eye to lewd and illegal behaviour by politicians.

Investigators learned of Strauss-Kahn’s involvement in the Lille sex parties after the initials “DSK” by which he is widely known in France were spotted on bills for hotels and plane tickets paid for by construction company Eiffage.

He was placed under formal investigation in 2012 and kept a low profile, quietly separating from his wife and rebuilding his life as a consultant and international conference speaker.

Earlier this month, Strauss-Kahn used an interview with CNN to wave away the New York case as a private matter and focused on discussing the failings of Europe’s leaders in pulling the euro zone out of economic crisis.

He acknowledged, however, that his political career was over.

Thirteen other people under formal investigation in the Lille case will also be tried, some facing additional charges of fraud and abuse of corporate funds, the prosecutor said. ($1 = 0.7555 euros)

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Skeleton of French man found in bed after 15 years.

LILLE, France (Reuters) – Police in France said on Friday they were trying to identify the skeleton of a man believed to have lain undiscovered in bed for more than 15 years.

The body, found in an abandoned house in the northern city of Lille, is thought to be that of the elderly owner of the property, who lived alone and appeared to have no relatives.

Police said they had found piles of unopened mail at the house dating back to 1996.

(Reporting By Pierre Savary; Writing by Vicky Buffery; Editing by Pravin Char)



Strauss-Kahn faces US gang rape accusation.

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  • File photo of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. French prosecutors on Monday opened a preliminary investigation into accusations that disgraced ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn took part in a gang rape in the United States. (AFP Photo/Richard Drew)File photo of former IMF head Dominique …

French prosecutors on Monday opened a preliminary investigation into accusations that disgraced ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn took part in a gang rape in the United States.

Prosecutors in Lille, where Strauss-Kahn and three others have been charged in a pimping case, said the probe centred on an incident “that could be described as gang rape” that took place in Washington, DC in December 2010.

Strauss-Kahn, two businessmen and a police chief have been charged with “aggravated pimping in an organised gang” in Lille for allegedly organising a prostitution ring for orgies in France, the United States and elsewhere.

Earlier this month Lille prosecutors said investigating magistrates in the case had submitted new evidence, based on testimony from two Belgian sex workers, that could also implicate the men in a gang rape.

Testimony from one of the prostitutes indicated that she had been forced into a non-consensual sex act while in Washington with Strauss-Kahn and the other accused. She has not filed a complaint.

In a statement from his lawyers this month Strauss-Kahn denied the accusations, saying he “absolutely contests having committed the slightest act of violence of any nature whatsoever.”

The former head of the International Monetary Fund and frontrunner for the French presidency, Strauss-Kahn suffered a stunning fall from grace following his arrest last year on accusations he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid.

The charges were eventually dropped but Strauss-Kahn, 63, has since faced a series of criminal and civil actions in connection with alleged sex crimes.

The hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo, has launched a civil suit against Strauss-Kahn in New York seeking unspecified damages, while he has in turn filed a $1 million countersuit for malicious prosecution and defamation.

The pimping case in Lille centres on accusations that prostitutes were procured for sex parties attended by Strauss-Kahn and paid for by executives who corruptly charged the parties to company expenses.

Strauss-Kahn admits he attended a string of orgies in various cities, but insists he had no idea that many of the female guests were paid to attend, telling police in a reported interview that he may have been “naive”.

After he resigned from the IMF and returned to France, Strauss-Kahn also faced an accusation from 32-year-old author Tristane Banon that he had tried to rape her in 2002.

French investigating magistrates questioned Strauss-Kahn and his accuser and concluded that, while there was prima facie evidence of a sexual assault, the alleged attack had occurred too long ago to be prosecuted.

Strauss-Kahn, a longtime Socialist Party member and former finance minister, had been the frontrunner to run for the party against incumbent right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy in France’s presidential election this year.

Following Strauss-Kahn’s legal troubles, former Socialist leader Francois Hollande emerged as the party’s candidate and defeated Sarkozy in the run-off vote on May 6.



Dominique Strauss-Kahn charged in French prostitution case.


Click photo to view more images. (Reuters/Pascal Rossignol)Click photo to view more images. (Reuters/Pascal Rossignol)Dominique Strauss-Kahl was charged with complicity in an illegal prostitution ring. (Getty)Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn faced preliminary charges Monday of “aggravated pimping” and procurement in an illegal prostitution ring in France.

The preliminary charges came as DSK was summoned for eight hours of questioning Monday  by French judges investigating an illegal prostitution ring operating out of the northern French city of Lille, Bloomberg News reported. The former IMF chief was later allowed to leave after paying 100,000 Euros in bail, and agreeing not to talk to others being investigated in the case, the Associated Press reported.

French prosecutors in Lille have been investigating an illegal prostitution ring that is alleged to have brought prostitutes from Belgium to luxury hotels in France and abroad to have sex with VIP clients, France’s Radio France International reported in October. At least five men have already been jailed as a result of the inquiry, including the director and PR chief of one of the city hotels.

An attorney for Strauss-Kahn adamantly denied Monday that his client had broken any law. “He firmly declares that he is not guilty of  these acts and of  never having the least inkling that the women he met  could have been  prostitutes,” Richard Malka, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, told Agence France Press.

Another lawyer for Strauss-Kahn had earlier acknowledged that Strauss-Kahn had participated in the sex parties, but said his client could not have known the women were prostitutes.

“I defy you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a nude classy woman,” DSK lawyer Henri Leclerk said in a statement in December. “Because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed.”

“Using prostitutes is not illegal in France, but  Strauss-Kahn risks a legal probe if investigators decide he knowingly  had sex with prostitutes paid for out of company funds,” Reuters wrote. Preliminary charges mean that investigators believe a crime was committed but need more time to investigate.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was reportedly mulling a run as the Socialist Party candidate for French president last spring, when he was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York. He resigned from the IMF during the investigation, but prosecutors dropped the charges in August, citing the unreliability and inconsistencies in the maid’s accounts. But two months after his return to France, Strauss-Kahn was questioned in connection with the Lille prostitution ring.

The French prostitution ring charges come as a New York court is due to take up a civil case filed by the hotel maid against DSK later this week.


By Laura Rozen | The Envoy 

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