27 Jul 2013

DSK charged with pimping in France

5:55 am on 27 July 2013

Prosecutors in France said on Friday that former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be tried on pimping charges, after a long inquiry into sex parties he attended.

Investigating judges have determined that Mr Strauss-Kahn, 64, should be judged by a criminal court over accusations he was complicit in a pimping operation involving prostitutes at the Carlton hotel in the northern city of Lille.

A public prosecutor recommended in June that the inquiry be dropped without trial. His private life will now be back into the spotlight just as he was putting a separate scandal in the United States in 2011 behind him.

His lawyers said there were no legal grounds to try him and he was being targeted because of his notoriety.

"No offence has been found to exist. So there can be no conviction in this affair," lawyer Frederique Baulieu told BFM TV on Friday.

"We should be focused on the law, not morality. Sadly, in this affair, investigating magistrates have been led astray by morality."

Under French law, pimping is a broad crime that encompasses aiding or encouraging prostitution.

''Aggravated pimping" carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a fine of 1.5 million euros ($US2 million).

The former finance minister has acknowledged attending sex parties in various cities but maintains he was unaware the women taking part were paid sex workers. He has said he is being hounded unfairly over his lifestyle.

The US scandal meant he quit his post at the IMF and gave up his aspirations of running as a candidate in the French presidential election in May 2012.

Investigators learned of Mr Strauss-Kahn's involvement in the Lille sex parties after the initials "DSK" by which he is widely known in France, were spotted on bills for hotels and plane tickets paid for by Eiffage, a construction company.

He was placed under formal investigation in 2012.

Earlier this month, in an interview with CNN, he acknowledged that his political career was over.