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More Legal Headaches for Strauss-Kahn as France Launches ‘Aggravated Pimping’ Probe

Posted Mar 27, 2012 8:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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French prosecutors announced on Monday that they are investigating Dominique Strauss-Kahn on accusations of “aggravating pimping” based on his involvement in a prostitution ring in Lille.

Prosecutors filed preliminary charges against the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, which will permit the investigation to go forward, report the New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. Eight others, including a prominent lawyer, have also been charged in the case, the Times says. The Times does not name the lawyer.

Paying for sex is not illegal in France, but it is illegal to profit from prostitution, the stories say.

The investigation centers on claims that luxury hotels served as the base for a high-profile prostitution network. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Richard Malka, has said his client attended sex parties, but didn’t know the women there were prostitutes. Monday evening, Malka said his client “declared with the greatest firmness that he is not guilty of any of these deeds and never had the least awareness that the women he met could have been prostitutes,” Bloomberg says.

On Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers will attend a hearing in the New York civil suit filed by a housekeeper for the Sofitel Hotel who claims she was raped by Strauss-Kahn last May. The lawyers are seeking dismissal based on diplomatic immunity. Criminal charges based on the accusation were dropped in August.

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