Monday 19 March 2018

DSK's texts described women as 'gifts' and 'some equipment'

Dominic Strauss-Kahn, who denies “pimping” charge. Photo: Reuters
Dominic Strauss-Kahn, who denies “pimping” charge. Photo: Reuters

Henry Samuel

Referring to female sex partners as "equipment" or "gifts" does not make you a pimp, Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a court in Lille, northern France, yesterday.

In his third and final day of questioning, the former International Monetary Fund chief also calmly batted off suggestions that the rental of a garret flat for orgies was proof of "aggravated pimping" - a charge that carries a maximum 10-year prison term and a €1.5m fine.

The 64-year-old is among 14 people accused of being part of a prostitution ring operating from the luxury Carlton hotel in Lille.

Yesterday, the court was read a selection of 37 text messages exchanged between Strauss-Kahn and businessman Fabrice Paszkowski, charged with procuring girls for sex sessions he organised to fit into the ex-IMF chief's busy diary.

"Would you, could you come and discover a magnificent saucy club in Madrid with me and some equipment?," the one-time French presidential hopeful asked his friend in one.

Others refer to female sex partners as "candidates", "dossiers" and "gifts", and the act itself as "commerce". Raising his eyes to heaven, Strauss-Kahn said he "regretted" the vocabulary, adding: "When I say equipment, I mean come with who you like". But he insisted none proved he paid the women or organised the soirees himself. "It's the same world of libertines, not prostitution," he said.

The judge then turned to a luxury garret flat in Paris's 16th arrondissement Strauss-Kahn had rented, and which he is accused of having "made available for paid-for sexual encounters".

French law punishes with a maximum 10-year prison term anyone who "sells or makes available" any property to individuals "in the knowledge they will use it for prostitution".

Asked why he had gone to the trouble of renting the flat in a name that was not his own, Strauss-Kahn replied: "As I was married, I asked a friend to put the lease in his name. It's biblically simple." With that, the judge said he had no further questions.

In the past three days, France has been subjected to graphic details of Strauss-Kahn's sex life.

It has also heard painful testimony from ex-prostitutes accusing the one-time presidential hopeful of forcing them into sexual acts against their will - one describing her ordeal as "impalement".

He said that he used an apartment to "entertain young women for personal reasons…but it was also useful for meeting political friends. And, yes, I was a married man at the time."

"The flat was not just for sexual activities… But it's true that I didn't want its existence to be known," he said.

Mr Strauss-Kahn admitted that sex-parties had taken place at the flat but he insisted that he had not organised them and he was not aware that any of the women invited were prostitutes. Meanwhile, an opinion poll on the 'Le Figaro' website suggested that 88pc of French people believed Strauss-Kahn knew he was sleeping with prostitutes.

When in the late morning, Bernard Lemaitre, a member of anti-prostitution group Nid, told the court that "leaving prostitution is like leaving a tomb," Strauss-Kahn's lawyer thanked him for a "moment of humanity at this sordid time". There were "aahs" of disbelief in court. The trial continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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