Update: A French judge is expected to prolong Strauss-Kahn’s detention in Lille, according to an inquiry source cited by Expatica, a French news website. If the judge does not put Strauss-Kahn under formal investigation he will be released after 48 hours.
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being questioned in another investigation of sexual misconduct, this time involving a suspected prostitution ring in France and Belgium.
Police could hold Strauss-Kahn for questioning for up to 48 hours in Lille as they seek more information. Several prostitutes who have already been questioned said they had sex with DSK at a restaurant in Paris as well as hotels in the French capital and in Washington D.C, the Associated Press reported.
Strauss-Kahn has denied any knowledge that the women were prostitutes, although he has admitted to attending “sex parties” in several cities across the world.
“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman,” his lawyer Henri Leclerc told French radio Europe 1 in December.
Dubbed “The Carlton Affair” by French media after the hotel where several meetings allegedly took place, police are investigating whether prostitutes were paid corporate funds from a French construction company to entertain guests at sex parties around the world.
While consorting with prostitutes is legal in France, supplying them to others is not, nor is the misuse of company funds.
Strauss-Kahn had previously been lying low in France after returning there from the U.S., where he had been accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid in a New York hotel in May of last year. Charges were dropped in August; a civil case is still pending.
That charge torpedoed the hopes of many in French Socialists that he would lead their party in the 2012 presidential elections against Nicholas Sarkozy, who announced his re-election bid last week.
Strauss-Kahn faced further scrutiny in a separate case brought last October by a French writer, who also accused him of attempting to rape her. French prosecutors subsequently refused to investigate those allegations because the incident had occurred too long ago to be taken to trial.
Many in the international media have expressed shock that after the outrage French journalists expressed at DSK’s treatment during his time under investigation in America, coverage of his latest run-in with police seems muted. “Where is the French press?’ asked The Telegraph.
For its part, Le Monde looked back at the hectic schedule and international visibility of DSK during his time as IMF chief and asked how he could have hidden his double life.
Other reactions in France varied, from anger to amused indifference. Strauss-Kahn had been often parodied on “Les Guignols”, a television program that uses puppets to satirize politicians as a lecherous fiend always wearing a leopard-print bathrobe.
The latest round of disclosures from the Carlton Affair investigation will do little to disprove that caricature.
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