Tuesday 16 January 2018

DSK issues 'quiz me' call to police probing vice ring

Dean Gray in Paris

A lawyer for Dominique Strauss-Kahn says the former IMF chief wants to be questioned by police so that he can debunk claims he was linked to a suspected hotel prostitution ring.

Lawyer Frederique Beaulieu says Mr Strauss-Kahn "is asking to be questioned to put an end to these insinuations and extrapolations".

The lawyer said Mr Strauss-Kahn expressed his wishes in a statement but has not yet been contacted by police.

Prosecutors in the northern city of Lille are investigating a suspected prostitution ring in France and neighbouring Belgium.

The head of Lille's luxury Hotel Carlton was among those detained.

The original report was published in the weekly 'Journal du Dimanche' which claimed that Mr Strauss-Kahn's name surfaced in the investigation as a possible client. The former IMF chief tried to brush off yet another sex scandal by demanding to be interviewed by judges to clear his name.

Until May this year the 62-year-old Socialist was considered favourite to defeat President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election, but his career has been destroyed by two unproven attempted rape allegations.

Mr Strauss-Kahn firmly denied those claims, and prosecutors have dropped both cases, but on Sunday his name was linked to another scandal, an investigation into an alleged call girl network in the northern city of Lille.

Reacting after reports he might face questioning, Mr Strauss-Kahn said he wanted to he heard by judges "as quickly as possible" to "end insinuations and extrapolations that are dangerous and once again malicious".

A source close to the investigation confirmed that magistrates might seek to interview Mr Strauss-Kahn but not "in the near future" as he was thought to have played a "secondary" role.

"This is not at the heart of the case," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that the main suspects had already been arrested, questioned and in some cases charged.

Investigators in Lille believe they have uncovered a well-connected ring that brought women over the frontier from Belgium to have sex with wealthy clients in hotels in the city.

Five men -- including the director and the public relations chief of the Carlton -- have been arrested in France and charged with providing women, while Belgian police are also investigating on their side of the border.

The case has caused a scandal in Lille, where respected local figures and even senior police officers are reportedly involved.

The new scandal erupted just as Mr Strauss-Kahn won some breathing space in his legal battles, when French state prosecutors investigating 32-year-old writer Tristane Banon's claims against him decided not to charge him.

Mr Stauss-Kahn still faces a civil case in New York lodged by Nafissatou Diallo (32), a hotel chamber maid who alleges he sexually assaulted and tried to rape her on May 14.

The French politician was charged, but New York prosecutors later dropped the case.

Irish Independent

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