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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Strauss-Kahn arrested by French police over alleged prostitution ring

Dominique Strauss-Kahn's car is surrounded by the media today. He will be held in custody until Wednesday at least before bail can be considered

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was today arrested by French police and faces criminal charges relating to an illegal prostitute racket.

The former International Monetary Fund chief was told by detectives that there is evidence linking him to ‘complicity in pimping’ and ‘misuse of corporate assets’.

He will be held in custody until ‘Wednesday at least’ before bail can be considered, said a source close to the case.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, has admitted to attending ‘sex parties’ in cities all over the world, but denies knowing that the women he slept with were prostitutes.

Now he faces criminal charges if prosecutors can prove that fraudulently obtained money was being paid to the prostitutes, and that Strauss-Kahn knew about this.

The money is alleged to have come from a building company executive who is accused of using his firm's funds to entertain the guests.

Strauss-Kahn was driven to the police station today in a Mercedes limousine with blacked-out windows before being hustled inside by his legal team.

He has claimed he did not know he was sleeping with prostitutes because ‘the women were all naked at the time’.

The unorthodox defence comes amid allegations that his mobile phone records showed he had relationships with at least 10 call girls.

All of the women, who come from France and Belgium, claim to have had paid sex with him while he was IMF chief.

But Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Henri Leclerc, said his client was ‘totally unaware’ that the women were receiving cash.

At these parties, people were not necessarily dressed, and I defy you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and any other naked woman,’ said Mr Leclerc.

Strauss-Kahn admits taking part in orgies and said he had an ‘uninhibited sex life’, but that ‘he never paid a centime’ for it. ‘I have a horror of prostitutes and pimping,’ he said.

Strauss-Kahn, a leading member of the French Socialist Party who wanted to run for President this year, resigned from the IMF last May after being accused of raping Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old chambermaid in a New York hotel.

The US case collapsed, but when he returned to France Tristane Banon, a 32-year-old writer, accused him of attempting to rape her.

Prosecutors found prima facie evidence of sexual assault, but said the alleged attack – which happened in 2003 - was too old to pursue.

Now Strauss-Kahn is at the centre of an entirely separate investigation into the prostitution ring which operated out of Lille’s upmarket Carlton Hotel.

executive is accused of using its money to entertain guests at the sex parties.
Strauss-Kahn, who is still facing a civil suit from the New York chamber maid, is said to have attended a number of the parties.

The last one he attended was in Washington in May, just before he was accused of attempted rape by Ms Diallo.

Prostitution is not illegal in France, but acting as a pimp – or somebody who controls prostitutes and makes money out of them – is.

There is also a suggestion that some of the girls involved in the Carlton ring may have been underage.

Strauss-Kahn had previously asked to be questioned by judges leading the inquiry into the so-called ‘Carlton Affair’, so as to put the record straight.

Strauss-Kahn has been keeping a low profile since returning from the U.S. living quietly in Paris with his wife, Anne Sinclair.

Ms Sinclair, a former TV presenter who now runs a news website in the French capital, has caused astonishment by staying with her husband, despite him admitting to numerous affairs.

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