Dominique Strauss-Kahn pimping trial begins in France

Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Paris 2013 Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Dominique Strauss-Kahn is facing charges of "aggravated pimping"

The trial of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on pimping charges has begun in France.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, 65, is accused of helping to procure sex workers for an alleged prostitution ring based at a hotel in Lille.

The former presidential hopeful has admitted attending sex parties there but says he did not know that some of the women were prostitutes.

The case is the latest sex-related allegation to trouble Mr Strauss-Kahn.

He stepped down as International Monetary Fund leader after being accused of attempted rape by a hotel maid in New York in 2011.

The charges were eventually dropped and Mr Strauss-Kahn reached a settlement with the maid, Nafissatou Diallo.

Two other cases against him, concerning allegations of sexual assault and gang rape, have already been dropped.

The case has been described as a litmus test for changing attitudes in France with the private lives of public figures now facing more scrutiny than in the past, the BBC's Lucy Williamson reports from Paris.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who arrived at the courthouse in Lille dressed in a dark suit, had to push his way through a throng of journalists and photographers.

He is standing trial along with 13 others, including the owner of a brothel known as "Dodo the Pimp".

Mr Strauss-Khan is facing a charge of "aggravated pimping" and is accused of using his business contacts to hire women for sex parties in Paris, Lille and Washington.

His lawyers argue that although he has admitted attending these parties, he was completely unaware that many of the women involved were paid prostitutes.

French media outlets have dubbed the case the "Carlton Affair" after the hotel which the allegations pertain to.

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