Sunday 22 October 2017

New DSK probe as gang-rape allegation emerges

Heather Smith in Lille

French prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into accusations Dominique Strauss-Kahn took part in a gang rape in the US.

Testimony from one of the prostitutes indicated that she had been forced into a non-consensual sex act while in Washington with Mr Strauss-Kahn and the other accused.

Prosecutors in Lille, where Mr Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, and three others have been charged in a pimping case, said the investigation centred on an incident "that could be described as gang rape" that took place in Washington DC in December, 2010.

Pimping

Mr Strauss-Kahn, two businessmen and a police chief have been charged with "aggravated pimping in an organised gang" in Lille for allegedly organising a prostitution ring for orgies in France, the US and elsewhere.

Earlier this month, Lille prosecutors said investigating magistrates in the case had submitted new evidence, based on testimony from two Belgian sex workers, that could also implicate the men in a gang rape.

Testimony from one of the prostitutes indicated that she had been forced into a non-consensual sex act while in Washington with Mr Strauss-Kahn and the other accused.

She has not filed a complaint.

In a statement from his lawyers this month Mr Strauss-Kahn denied the accusations, saying he "absolutely contests having committed the slightest act of violence of any nature whatsoever".

The probe stems from evidence gathered during an investigation by judges in Lille of prostitutes being sent to the US, which resulted in charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn in March, the prosecution said yesterday in an emailed statement.

The investigating judges referred to prosecutors' details of "events which took place in Washington, between December 15 and 18, 2010, which they felt could be qualified as group rape," according to the statement.

Mr Strauss-Kahn (63) was charged with procurement in the northern French city in the so-called Carlton affair, named for the local hotel where the prostitution investigation began.

The rape probe goes beyond allegations he actively participated in the prostitution ring by organising sex parties.

The charge could result in a sentence of as long as 20 years in prison and €3m in fines under French law.

The opening of the inquiry based on the woman's statements to investigators, rather than a formal complaint of rape, "shows the unbelievable determination" of the prosecutors and is a sign of "weakness" on their part, said Richard Malka, representing Mr Strauss-Kahn.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who one year ago was a presidential hopeful for France's Socialist Party, has denied the prostitution case allegations, claiming he didn't know that the women were being paid, and refutes claims of violence, his lawyers have said. Paying for sex is legal in France. Procuring prostitutes for someone else isn't.

Two prostitutes told investigators they participated in a sex party with four men, including Mr Strauss-Kahn, in Washington, Agence France-Presse said yesterday, citing police statements by the women.

One said she was forced to perform non-consensual sex acts, telling the police: "I didn't shout, but I clearly said in a loud voice that I didn't want to," according to the AFP report.

Irish Independent

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