Four years after a sex scandal cost him his job and political career, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in court. Disgraced former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn goes on trial in France later accused of aggravated pimping as part of a prostitution ring. If convicted, the one-time presidential contender, known as DSK in France, faces up to 10 years in prison and a €1.5m (£1.1m) fine. Strauss-Kahn and more than a dozen other French and Belgian businessmen will be tried in the northern city of Lille. Luxury hotel managers, police, freemasons and a brothel owner nicknamed “Dodo the Pimp” are also standing trial.
“Specifically the charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn can be translated best as aggravated pimping, so participating in a structured prostitution ring involving a number of women operating both in France and in Belgium,” said lawyer Christopher Mesnooh. Prostitutes questioned in the case said they had sex with Strauss-Kahn during 2010 and 2011 at a luxury hotel and a restaurant in Paris and also in Washington, where he lived while working for the International Monetary Fund, and in Brussels. His lawyers said he had attended “libertine” gatherings, but denied knowing the women were paid.
In France, it is not against the law to pay for sex, but is illegal to solicit or run a prostitution business. During the high-profile three-week trial, lurid details of group sex and high-end prostitution are expected to emerge. Prosecutors have been divided over whether there was enough evidence for Strauss-Kahn to stand trial. State prosecutor Frederic Fevre called for the charges to be dropped in 2013.
But investigating judges overruled him and ordered Strauss-Khan to face trial.Strauss-Kahn’s financial and political career ended four years ago amid accusations he sexually assaulted hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo in New York. Diallo told police he forced her to perform oral sex, tried to rape her and tore a ligament in her shoulder after she arrived to clean his luxury hotel suite.
Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to resign as head of the IMF due to the scandal, said the sex was consensual but described it as “a moral failing.” New York prosecutors dropped the case three months later because they said Diallo had lied about her background and changed her account of her actions after the alleged attack.