Dominique Strauss-Kahn was acquitted of sex crime charges which ruled the sexual escapades with prostitutes of a man once tipped to be French president did not amount to "aggravated pimping".
The verdict came four years after sex assault accusations by a New York hotel maid ended his political ambitions and forced him to step down as head of the International Monetary Fund.
Strauss-Kahn's acquittal by a court in the northern city of Lille on charges of procuring prostitutes -- exposing him to the risk of a 10-year jail sentence -- marked the final episode of legal battle on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 66-year-old, who settled financially with Sofitel maid Nafissatou Diallo after New York prosecutors abandoned criminal charges in 2011, stood accused in France of instigating the organisation of orgies with prostitutes.
"He cannot be attributed the role of instigator," judge Bernard Lemaire said when reading out a verdict in the presence of Strauss-Kahn and 13 others. "He just availed of the sexual services of a group."
Strauss-Kahn and his lawyers had argued that he has an appetite for rough sex but was not aware that women he frolicked with at parties and hotels in Paris, Lille and Washington, mostly while in the powerful IMF post, were prostitutes.
The high-profile case against disgraced former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to be weakening as five of the six plaintiffs in the French prostitution trial dropped their accusations against him.
Former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn did not know the women at "festive and playful" sex parties he attended were prostitutes, he told a French court on Tuesday, saying that would have been too risky given his then-role as head of the IMF.
The disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is appearing in court this week accused of “aggravated pimping” following a series of orgies at luxury hotels in Paris and Washington DC.
A former prostitute has said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former head of the IMF, insisted on having anal sex with her at an orgy, despite the fact she made it clear she "didn't like sexual practices like that", a court has heard.