DOMINIQUE Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief and alleged "pimp", is being persecuted for being a famous and "lustful" man, his lawyers protested yesterday.
A French magistrate has formally accused Mr Strauss-Kahn (62) of "aggravated procurement" as part of an investigation into a hotel prostitution ring which began in Lille and spread to Paris, Brussels and Washington DC.
It is alleged that Mr Strauss-Kahn played a part in organising orgies in three countries attended by French businessmen, a senior police officer and prostitutes. Under French law, helping prostitutes to find or meet their clients, amounts to "pimping", even if unpaid.
Investigators are said to have texts sent by Mr Strauss-Kahn in which he made arrangements for the parties and recommended one of the women to a friend.
He resigned as head of the IMF 11 months ago, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a chambermaid in a New York hotel. The charges were later dropped but a civil action by his alleged victim, Nafissatou Diallo, opens in New York today.
He does not deny taking part in orgies during 2009-11. Mr Strauss-Kahn has said that he had no idea that the women were prostitutes. How could he imagine such a thing, he asked, when one organiser was a senior police detective?
His lawyers said yesterday that the case against him was "hollow, empty, non-existent". One said: "Colossal police and judicial means were deployed to crack and dissect his private life, with the only goal being to invent and then castigate what can be considered a crime of lust." (© Independent News Service)