LILLE, FRANCE – Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will face trial on pimping charges along with 12 other people over an alleged prostitution ring in the French city of Lille, prosecutors announced Friday.
Strauss-Kahn was charged last year with “aggravated pimping as part of an organized gang” in the so-called Carlton affair — one of a string of lurid cases that came to light after he quit his IMF post over an alleged sexual assault on a New York hotel maid.
The case centers on allegations that business leaders and police officials supplied prostitutes for sex parties in Lille, some of which are said to have taken place at the city’s Carlton Hotel.
Prosecutors in June called for the charges against Strauss-Kahn, 64, to be dropped, saying there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
But in a statement Friday, the Lille prosecutors’ office said investigating magistrates had ordered Strauss-Kahn and the other defendants to face trial, though on the lesser charge of “aggravated pimping as part of a group.”
It was unclear whether prosecutors would appeal the decision to proceed to trial. In the French legal system, investigating judges can overrule recommendations from prosecutors and force them to take suspects to trial.
One of Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, Richard Malka, denounced the decision to go to trial as part of a “relentless” judicial campaign against his client.
He said Strauss-Kahn’s legal team would use the trial “to denounce the absurdity and abnormality of this aggravated pimping complaint.”
A statement issued by his lawyers said Strauss-Kahn had been expecting the case to be sent to trial and would appear before the court.
Strauss-Kahn, who before the scandals was considered a top candidate for the French presidency, admitted to attending sex parties in France and the United States but said he did not know some of the women were being paid.