Bloomberg News

Strauss-Kahn Held by Police a Second Day in Prostitution Probe

February 22, 2012

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, should be released by French prosecutors investigating a prostitution ring tomorrow unless they find he played a significant role in the operation.

Strauss-Kahn turned himself in to Lille police investigating the case yesterday morning, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said. It would be unlikely for authorities to hold Strauss-Kahn longer than 48 hours, said Emmanuel Moyne, a lawyer at Linklaters LLP in Paris.

An additional 48 hours of detention “is possible for cases of aggravated procurement of prostitutes” which doesn’t appear to be the case, said Moyne, who isn’t involved in the probe. Otherwise Strauss-Kahn “must be freed or presented to the judges investigating the affair to be charged.”

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 because of concerns about the woman’s credibility, and Strauss-Kahn returned to France, where he faced separate accusations of attempted rape, which were also dropped.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers in Paris and Lille didn’t return calls for comment today.

Eiffage Complaint

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. Investigators want to determine whether Strauss-Kahn knew the women were prostitutes and if so, how they were paid.

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. Prostitution and paying for sex are legal in France, while procuring prostitutes for another is not.

Strauss-Kahn has denied wrongdoing in relation to the 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.

Interrogations in police custody can last 96 hours in “exceptional” cases involving terrorism or organized prostitution rings, said Judge Xavier Gadrat, an official in the French judges’ union, the Paris-based Syndicat de la Magistrature. As Strauss-Kahn is suspected just of aiding in the procurement of prostitutes, he would probably not be eligible for the 96-hour term, Gadrat and Moyne said.

The Lille investigation has led to charges against eight people, including local hotel officials and a local police chief.

--Editor: Anthony Aarons, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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