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Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been handed preliminary charges alleging he was involved in a French prostitution ring.
Investigating judges questioned Strauss-Kahn for several hours last night.
Lawyer Richard Malka said after Strauss-Kahn left that he was accused of procuring prostitutes and involvement in an “organised gang”.
Malka says Strauss-Kahn denies wrongdoing. The lawyer also says it is wrong to prosecute Strauss-Kahn for “simple libertine activity”.
Under French law, preliminary charges mean authorities have reason to believe a crime was committed but allow more time for investigation.
The Socialist ex-finance minister, a strong contender to be France’s next president until he was hit with sex assault charges in New York last May, appeared at the Lille court two days earlier than scheduled.
Strauss-Kahn went from being a highly respected politician to being hounded in the world’s media after a New York hotel maid accused him of trying to rape her. The charges were dropped after prosecutors decided the maid’s testimony was unreliable.
But Strauss-Kahn, 62, was hit with a separate sexual assault accusation in France and tomorrow his lawyers will be in the US fighting a civil lawsuit brought against him by the hotel maid.
The Lille case centres on allegations a prostitution ring organised by Strauss-Kahn’s business associates supplied clients.
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