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Strauss Kahn freed but faces new grilling on sex charges

Dominique Strauss Kahn has been freed from French police custody after two days of questioning.

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn has been freed from French police custody after two days of questioning about an alleged prostitution ring but faces a further grilling next month.

The disgraced French politician also heard yesterday that the first court hearing in a US civil case,brought by the New York hotel maid who alleges that he sexually assaulted her,will take place on March 15.

DSK,as he is known in France,will thus face legal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic next month.A French judicial source said Strauss-Kahn,once considered a front-runner to become the next president of France,would be summoned to appear before investigating magistrates in Lille on March 28 on charges linked to prostitution and corruption.

The 62-year-old former Socialist minister was released after being detained for about 32 hours for questioning on the charges of “abetting aggravated pimping by an organised gang” and “misuse of company funds”.

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He was swiftly whisked away in a car under a police motorcycle escort from the police station in the northern city of Lille,where dozens of journalists had gathered.

During his interrogation,Strauss-Kahn told investigators he did not suspect women he met at orgies were prostitutes,as they were introduced to him by senior police officers,a source close to the probe said.

“He explained himself fully about all the events he was questioned on,” Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Frederique Baulieu said,but she declined to comment on his future summons. He was also to be quizzed by France’s police internal affairs department,the IGPN,which is conducting a separate inquiry into a senior officer,Commissioner Jean-Christophe Lagarde,who has been charged with pimping.

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Under French law,aggravated organised pimping carries a prison term of up to 20 years and profiting from embezzlement five years and a fine.

Investigating magistrates want to know whether he was aware that women who entertained him at parties in restaurants,hotels and swingers’ clubs in Paris and

Washington were paid prostitutes.

They will also ask whether Strauss-Kahn knew the escorts were paid with funds allegedly fraudulently obtained from a public works company by his hosts.

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Paying a prostitute is not illegal in France,but profiting from vice or embezzling company funds to pay for sex can lead to charges.

Lawyer Henri Leclerc has said his client may not have known he was with prostitutes as “in these parties,you’re not necessarily dressed. I defy you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a nude woman of quality.”

The former managing director of the International Monetary Fund acknowledges having an uninhibited sex life,but rejects any role in pimping or corruption and has indicated he will deny any criminal wrongdoing.

First published on: 23-02-2012 at 13:19 IST
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