French cops detain DSK in sex ring probe
AFP LILLE FRENCH police detained former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for questioning on Tuesday over allegations he took part in orgies in Paris and Washington paid for by a pair of businessmen.
The 62-year-old former Socialist minister, who until last year was seen as the frontrunner to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France, had been summoned as a witness but prosecutors said he was now a suspect.
He arrived voluntarily at a police station in the northern city of Lille just before his 9:00 am (0800 GMT) appointment for questioning about his role in the latest sex scandal to beset his ruined career.
Shortly after his arrival, prosecutors said he would instead be detained on suspicion of “complicity in pimping” and “misuse of company funds” and could thus face charges and see his detention stretch to 96 hours. A magistrate would have to decide whether the evidence supports these charges or other potential offences. Then, if the judge agrees, he could be released on bail or remanded in custody pending an eventual trial. Under French law, pimping carries a sevenyear prison term and profiting from embezzlement five years and a large fine.
Between interrogations, the millionaire who was odds-on to become president was to be held in a spartan 7.5-square-metre (80-square-foot) cell with a simple foam mattress, a sink and a hole-in-the-floor squat toilet.
Investigating magistrates want to know whether he was aware that the women who entertained him at parties in restaurants, hotels and swingers’ clubs in Paris, Washington and several European capitals were paid prostitutes.
They will also seek to determine whether Strauss- Kahn knew that the escorts were paid with funds fraudulently obtained by his hosts from a French public works company for which one of them worked as a senior executive. Paying a prostitute is not in itself illegal in France, but profiting from vice or embezzling company funds to pay for sex can lead to charges.
The former director of the International Monetary Fund admits that he has led an adventurous sex life, but denies that he was implicated in pimping or corruption and has indicated he will deny any criminal wrongdoing.