France`s Strauss-Kahn faces sex ring charges

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 09:55

Lille: Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with involvement
in an organised vice ring that procured prostitutes for top-class clients, lawyers said.

Prosecutors said the 62-year-old former Socialist
finance minister and one-time presidential favourite had been
released on USD 135,000 bail following the charges yesterday.

Strauss-Kahn was called in by investigating
magistrates in the northern French city of Lille two days
earlier than expected and charged with an offence that could
carry 20 years in prison if he is convicted.

"He firmly declares that he is not guilty of these
acts and never had the least inkling that the women he met
could have been prostitutes," said Richard Malka, one of
Strauss-Kahn`s counsel.

"Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under judicial
control and was forbidden from contacting defendants, civil
plaintiffs, witnesses and the press regarding the procedures,"
prosecutors said in a statement.

Strauss-Kahn`s name came up as police were
investigating a pimping operation that saw sex workers from brothels over the Belgian border being brought to France for orgies in high-class hotels in Lille and Paris.

Strauss-Kahn admits that he took part in some of
these parties, one of which was said to involve women being
flown to Washington to entertain him while he was still
managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

But, through his lawyer, he has denied knowing the
escorts were paid.

Using prostitutes is not illegal in France, but
prosecutors are seeking proof that Strauss-Kahn was aware the
parties were arranged by an organised pimping ring and paid
for by other guests misusing company funds.

Strauss-Kahn told police he did not suspect the
women were prostitutes because he was introduced to them by
senior police officers.

Lawyers will also be in court on Wednesday in New
York for the first hearing in a civil case brought against him
by Nafissatou Diallo, a hotel maid who alleges he sexually
assaulted her.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 09:55

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