Strauss-Kahn could face charges over vice-ring
Published 22/02/2012 | 05:00
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been taken in for questioning as a suspect in a corruption probe into alleged orgies with prostitutes in Paris and Washington paid for by two businessmen.
The former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief arrived at a police station in Lille, northern France, yesterday to testify as a witness in the case but was immediately taken into custody for interrogation with a view to possible charges, the prosecutor said.
The ex-Socialist minister was seen as the frontrunner to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France until his arrest last May on rape charges of a New York maid, which were later dropped.
The timing of the arrest is embarrassing for the Socialist party, whose presidential candidate Francois Hollande is favourite to win the race.
The far-right National Front's former chief, Jean-Marie Le Pen said it would be "astonishing" if the Socialist party were unaware of Mr Strauss-Kahn's sexual practices.
He has been detained on suspicion of "complicity in pimping" and "misuse of company funds" and could thus face charges and see his detention stretch from the normal 48 hours to 96 hours.
After that, he could be remanded in custody pending a trial, or released on bail.
The probe is focused on a prostitution ring that allegedly supplied clients of Lille's luxury Carlton hotel.
Using prostitutes is not illegal in France. But potential charges hang on whether investigating magistrates are convinced Mr Strauss-Kahn knew that the women he had sex with were prostitutes paid for using company funds.
Eight people, including two Lille businessmen close to Mr Strauss-Kahn and a local police commissioner, have been placed under investigation.
Mr Strauss-Kahn's career has been in tatters since his arrest on May 14 last year on charges of raping maid Nafissato Diallo in Manhattan's Sofitel hotel.
Charges were dropped after prosecutors began to doubt Miss Diallo's credibility as a witness, but Mr Strauss-Kahn returned to France to fresh sex scandals.
First, 32-year-old French writer Tristane Banon accused him of attempting to rape her in 2003. Prosecutors ruled that the statute of limitations had passed. Then, Mr Strauss-Kahn's name was linked to the separate Carlton case.
Mr Strauss-Kahn has denied any wrongdoing. (© Daily Telegraph, London)