Bloomberg News

Strauss-Kahn Released After Questioned in Prostitution Probe

February 24, 2012

(Updates with date of next meeting in second paragraph.)

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was released from police custody yesterday after almost two days of questioning as part of an investigation into a French prostitution ring.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, turned himself in Feb. 21 to answer questions and spent a night in a jail cell in Lille, in northern France. He will appear before judges leading the investigation on March 28, Le Monde said today, citing police documents.

“There is nothing you can read into his being released” to tell where the case may go, said Christopher Mesnooh, a Paris-based lawyer not involved in the case.

Strauss-Kahn could be named as a material witness or charged, a spokeswoman for the prosecution said, declining to be identified citing office policy. She did not immediately return calls today concerning Le Monde’s report.

He gave up his post as managing director of the IMF 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 “answered all questions,” Frederique Baulieu, his lawyer, told television cameras outside the police station. “It is now in the hands of the judges.”

She did not immediately return calls today about the date of the next meeting.

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.

Active Role

Investigators are trying to determine whether Strauss-Kahn knew corporate money was used to pay the women and whether he played an active role organizing sex parties he allegedly attended, or knew the women attending were prostitutes.

Prostitution and paying for sex are legal in France, while procuring prostitutes for someone else isn’t.

Strauss-Kahn was also questioned by agents charged with internal investigations of the French police regarding his ties to a regional police chief indicted in the affair.

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.

The Lille investigation has led to charges against eight people.

“A lot of other people associated with this affair have been indicted,” Mesnooh said. “Their links were a little more direct perhaps than the links of Mr. Strauss-Kahn with the prostitution side and the abuse of corporate assets side.”

--Editors: Anthony Aarons, Christopher Scinta

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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