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.