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DSK now on €100k bail in call-girl party probe

FORMER IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been placed under formal investigation by authorities looking into a suspected prostitution ring in Lille, France.

The investigation on suspicion of complicity in a pimping operation is the latest judicial headache for the Socialist ex-finance minister.

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 he was required to post ¤100,000 in bail.


Outside the court, Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Richard Malka, said he 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," he added.

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.

Already in the case, eight people, including two Lille businessmen and a police commissioner, have been arrested, and construction firm Eiffage fired an executive suspected of using company funds to hire sex workers.

Strauss-Kahn has previously denied the allegations, arguing he was unaware women he met at parties in Lille, Paris and Washington were prostitutes.

He has been seeking to restore his reputation as a global economist by speaking at conferences, but cancelled an appearance at an event in Brussels following protests from MEPs.