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Former IMF chief Strauss-Khan placed under investigation, suspected in prostitution ring in Lile

After sex-asault charges that emerged last May, this investigation on suspicion of complicity in a pimping operation is the latest judicial headache for the Socialist ex-finance minister.

Monday, March 26th the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under formal investigation over a suspected prostitution ring in the French city of Lile, according to his lawyer, following a day of questioning by judges in a closed courtroom.


The investigation on suspicion of complicity in a pimping operation is the latest judicial headache for the Socialist ex-finance minister. The move could lead to a trial but it falls short of charging him. Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was a strong contender to be France's next president until he was hit with sex-assault charges, now-dismissed, in New York last May, was allowed to leave the court after being questioned by three judges in the case. Meanwhile, he is forbidden to contact witnesses, the press, and others involved in the prostitution case, it said.


The Lille prosecutor's office said in a statement he was required to post 100,000 euros ($133,300) in bail. Outside the courthouse, Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Richard Malka, insisted his client was innocent. He states with the strongest firmness to be guilty of none of these acts and in particular to not have had the least awareness that certain women he met could have been prostitutes, Malka told the press. Having relations with an escort does not constitute a crime and is a matter of private behavior, perfectly legal among adults, he added.


The Lille case centers on allegations that a prostitution ring organized by Strauss-Kahn's business associates supplied clients at the city's Carlton Hotel. Already in the case, eight people, including two Lille businessmen and a police commissioner, have been arrested, and construction firm Eiffage fired an executive suspected of using company funds to hire sex workers.


Judges had the option of putting him under investigation for having potentially benefited from misappropriated company funds if he knowingly attended prostitute sessions paid for by his executive friends using expense accounts.


Instead, the investigation will focus on the pandering angle, and whether Strauss-Kahn was aware that the women at the parties were prostitutes supplied by pimps. In itself, using prostitutes is not illegal in France. The highly-anticipated hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was moved up by two days for unknown reasons.


Former IMF chief Strauss-Khan placed under investigation, suspected in prostitution ring in Lile

 
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