Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the ex-head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and one-time French presidential hopeful, has been detained by French police investigating a suspected hotel prostitution ring.
Journalists surrounded Strauss-Kahn’s car as he arrived at a police station in Lille, northern France on Tuesday morning. He could be held at the station for questioning for 48 hours, The New York Times reported, and possibly for a further 48 hours with a judge’s approval.
Strauss-Kahn was widely viewed as a likely Socialist candidate in France’s presidential elections in April, but he gave up on his presidential ambitions and resigned as IMF chief after being charged in New York with the attempted rape of a hotel chambermaid.
The case was later dropped, as was a separate French inquiry into attempted rape claims brought by writer Tristane Banon.
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The latest scandal, known as the “Carlton affair” after a Lille hotel where call-girls entertained clients, involves a suspected prostitution ring and the misuse of corporate funds to pay for sex parties.
Magistrates have already charged several prominent figures from Lille in connection with the investigation, according to the BBC. Three suspects are said to have been close to Strauss-Kahn, who allegedly participated in sex parties involving prostitutes in Paris and Washington during 2010 and 2011.
Police have already questioned prostitutes who say they had sex with Strauss-Kahn at the parties, according to the Associated Press. Strauss-Kahn volunteered to be questioned after his name was linked to the affairs last year, though he insists he was unaware the women were prostitutes.
His lawyer, Henri Leclerc, told French television in December: “I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”
Prosecutors are also seeking to ascertain whether Strauss-Kahn was aware that some of the woman had been paid with embezzled funds. While prostitution is legal in France it is against the law to profit from vice or use embezzled funds to pay prostitutes.
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