(Updates with prosecution comment in second paragraph.)
Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being questioned by French police in Lille investigating a prostitution ring, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said today.
Strauss-Kahn turned himself in for questioning at 8:55 a.m. local time, a spokeswoman for the Lille prosecution said, declining to be named according to office policy. He faces possible charges of aiding in procuring prostitutes and benefiting from embezzlement, she said.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, gave up his post as managing director of the International Monetary Fund last year after being arrested in New York for sexually assaulting a hotel maid. Prosecutors dropped the case over concerns about his accuser’s credibility. After the one-time French presidential favorite returned to his home country, accusations made there by an author were also dropped for lack of evidence of attempted rape and the expiry of the statute of limitations on sexual assault.
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers are with the former IMF chief, the spokeswoman said. He may be held as long as 48 hours under French law. Prostitution and paying for sex are legal in France, while procuring prostitutes for another is not.
The Manhattan hotel maid has filed a civil case against Strauss-Kahn in the Bronx, which her lawyers have said may be buttressed by information from the Lille probe.
Investigators want to determine whether Strauss-Kahn knew the women were prostitutes and if so, how they were paid. French builder Eiffage SA filed an embezzlement complaint after an internal probe found an employee spent as much as 50,000 euros ($66,000) to pay for women to travel as far as Washington to have sex with Strauss-Kahn. He is also being questioned on whether he helped arrange for women to attend sex parties, or otherwise aided in organizing them while knowing they were prostitutes.
Strauss-Kahn has denied wrongdoing in relation to the prostitution investigation and said in a Nov. 11 statement from his lawyers that he wanted to be questioned, “to put an end to the dangerous and spiteful insinuations” in the media.
The Lille investigation has led to charges against eight people, including local hotel officials and a local police chief, according to the spokeswoman.
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