Newspaper article International New York Times

Former Head of I.M.F. Goes on Trial in Pimping Case

Newspaper article International New York Times

Former Head of I.M.F. Goes on Trial in Pimping Case

Article excerpt

The former head of the International Monetary Fund faces accusations of "aggravated procurement in a group," or pimping, in Northern France.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, went on trial Monday on accusations that he participated in a prostitution ring that extended from the north of France to Brussels, Washington and New York.

In a case that has riveted France, Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 65, who was once seen as a presidential contender, stands accused in Lille, France, with 13 other defendants, including Dominique Alderweireld, a sex club owner known as Dodo la Saumure. Mr. Strauss-Kahn is charged with "aggravated procurement in a group," or pimping, and using his subordinates to obtain prostitutes for lavish sex parties.

In addition to shining a spotlight on a clandestine world of Champagne-fueled sex parties that prosecutors say were attended by lawyers, judges, police officials, journalists and musicians, the case is also spurring debate about sexual morality in France and the extent to which the private lives of public figures should remain private.

In France, having sex with prostitutes is not illegal, but soliciting and pimping are against the law.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn has acknowledged being present at sex parties, but he has vehemently denied the charges he faces in Lille and has said that he was not aware that some of the women present were prostitutes. His defenders say that the prosecution is seeking to criminalize sexual ardor and that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is the victim of a puritanical, politically motivated witch hunt. Moreover, they maintain that sex parties reflect a long tradition of libertinage and that consensual sex between multiple partners behind closed doors is a matter of private taste and morals.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn resigned from the International Monetary Fund in 2011 after he was accused of sexually assaulting a housekeeper at a hotel in New York. …

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