Strauss-Kahn under probe in pimping case

Strauss-Kahn under probe in pimping case

Former IMF chief suspected of involvement in prostitution ring

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under formal investigation on Monday by authorities looking into a suspected prostitution ring in the French city of Lille, his lawyer said, 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.

The Lille prosecutor’s office said in a statement he was required to post 1,00,000 euros in bail. He is forbidden to contact witnesses, the press, and others involved in the prostitution case, it said.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said 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 said.

“Having relations with an escort does not constitute a crime and is a matter of private behaviour, perfectly legal among adults.”

The Lille case centres on allegations that a prostitution ring organised by Strauss-Kahn’s business associates supplied clients at the city’s Carlton Hotel.

Lust isn’t a crime, say lawyers

Lawyers defending Dominique Strauss-Kahn against allegations he was involved in a French prostitution ring say he is being unfairly targeted for his active extramarital sex life and committed no crime.

They are also protesting a judge’s order barring the former International Monetary Fund chief from talking to the media pending further investigation.