PARIS, (Reuters) – Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be tried in France on pimping charges, prosecutors said yesterday, after a long inquiry into sex parties attended by the man whose presidential hopes were dashed by a separate 2011 U.S. sex scandal.
Investigating judges in the case determined that Strauss-Kahn, 64, should be judged by a criminal court over allegations he was complicit in a pimping operation involving prostitutes at the Carlton hotel in the northern city of Lille.
The decision was a surprise after a public prosecutor recommended in June that the inquiry be dropped without trial and it will thrust Strauss-Kahn’s private life back into the spotlight just as he was putting the U.S. scandal behind him.
His lawyers said there were no legal grounds to try him and he was being targeted because of his notoriety after a New York hotel maid’s charge, later dropped, that he sexually assaulted her in his suite in May 2011 when he was International Monetary Fund chief.
“No offence has been found to exist. So there can be no conviction in this affair,” Frederique Baulieu, one of his lawyers, told BFM TV. “We should be focused on the law, not morality. Sadly, in this affair, investigating magistrates have been led astray by morality.”
Under French law, pimping is a broad crime that encompasses aiding or encouraging prostitution.
Because the parties allegedly involved several prostitutes, Strauss-Kahn will stand trial in Lille on the more serious charge of “aggravated pimping”, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a 1.5 million euros ($2 million) fine.