French court to rule on Strauss-Kahn sex charge case

Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Kiev, 4 April 2012 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dominique Strauss-Kahn has accused authorities of trying to criminalise lust

A French court is expected to rule on whether former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will stand trial on pimping charges.

The case is the last major inquiry the 63-year-old is fighting in France.

The charges relate to sex parties held in a luxury hotel in the northern city of Lille.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyer wants the case dropped, saying his client did not know some of the women were prostitutes.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was widely expected to become the Socialist presidential candidate before he was arrested in May 2011 in New York, accused of trying to rape a hotel maid.

US prosecutors later dropped criminal charges and the alleged victim, Nafissatou Diallo, settled a civil case for an undisclosed sum in early December.

'Criminalising lust'

The Lille case has become know as the Carlton affair, after the name of the hotel in which the alleged orgies took place.

Consorting with prostitutes is not against the law in France, and Mr Strauss-Kahn has acknowledged that he was at some of the parties with the women.

But Mr Strauss-Kahn's legal team says he had no idea they were prostitutes, and that there is no evidence to support a formal charge of pimping.

His defence lawyer, Richard Malka, has argued that the investigation should be annulled due to insufficient grounds.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who is reportedly taking steps to reinvent himself as a highly paid consultant and conference speaker, has said the authorities are trying to "criminalise lust".

Other cases against him have already been dropped.

In October, French prosecutors ended an investigation into allegations of "gang rape" at a hotel in Washington after the woman who made the claim retracted her evidence.

Magistrates also dropped a sexual assault case brought by French author Tristane Banon on the grounds that the alleged 2003 incident had taken place too long ago.

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