A French prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of rape in a Washington hotel by former IMF chief and one-time French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
The prosecutor in Lille in northern France followed a request by investigating judges earlier this month to broaden a suspected prostitution probe to examine the claims of rape in December 2010.
The Lille prosecutor’s office said in a statement today that they are looking into the allegation that Strauss-Kahn may have been involved in a rape during a sex party in the hotel while he was chief of the International Monetary Fund.
Strauss-Kahn has denied any violence and said he is the subject of a public ``lynching campaign''.
The prominent economist, once a top contender for France’s presidency, has seen his career and reputation crumble since he was accused of sexual assault in a New York hotel a year ago.
Strauss-Kahn is already a target in the Lille prostitution probe, which has mushroomed over the past year into a nationwide scandal. He is facing preliminary charges of alleged aggravated pimping, based on accusations by other people questioned in the investigation. He denies those charges.
He has acknowledged being involved in “libertine” activity, while saying that he was unaware of anyone being paid for sex.
French daily Liberation reported this month that two Belgian prostitutes questioned in the Lille probe described Strauss-Kahn as using violence during sex at the W Hotel in Washington and forcing a sexual act on her despite her protests.
Citing leaked transcripts of witness testimony to Belgian police, also involved in the probe, Liberation cited one of the prostitutes as saying that Strauss-Kahn “used force – he held down my hands, he pulled my hair, he hurt me”.
The woman is quoted as giving evidence that another man held her hands down while Strauss-Kahn assaulted her.