Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, has been charged by French judges with procurement in connection with a prostitution ring.
The allegations followed a closed-door meeting between Mr Strauss-Kahn and judges that began early yesterday in the northern French city of Lille, said a spokeswoman, who declined to be identified.
Prosecutors said Mr Strauss-Kahn was ordered not to contact other people involved in the case according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. He was released on €100,000 bail.
French builder Eiffage SA filed a complaint after an internal probe found an employee spent as much as €50,000 to pay for women to travel as far as Washington to have sex with the then-chief of the IMF.
The former IMF managing director gave up his post last year after being arrested in New York on charges he sexually assaulted a hotel maid. Local prosecutors dropped that case because of concerns about his accuser's credibility and Mr Strauss-Kahn returned to France, where he faced a separate accusation of attempted rape, which was also dropped.
Mr Strauss-Kahn (62) turned himself in to investigators in Lille on February 21 and was held overnight to answer questions as investigators sought to determine whether he knew corporate money was used and whether he had an active role organising sex parties he allegedly attended.
He and his lawyers have said he didn't know the women were being paid.
Mr Strauss-Kahn "declared with the greatest firmness that he is not guilty of any of these deeds," Richard Malka, one of his lawyers, said. Another of Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, Henri Leclerc, said they would appeal the decision.
On Wednesday, a hearing in a New York state court is scheduled in the civil suit of Nafissatou Diallo, the housekeeper who accused Mr Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her.Ms Diallo is seeking damages for what her lawyer called "violent and deplorable acts" committed when she came to clean his room at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan.