Disgraced Strauss-Kahn faces new rape claims over sex party at Washington hotel

A Belgian prostitute has claimed that the former IMF chief used violence against her at an orgy

The disgraced former chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, found himself caught in a new scandal yesterday as it emerged that he may face new rape allegations.

French prosecutors will decide next week – after the presidential election – whether a formal investigation of Mr Strauss-Khan in Lille for alleged "pimping" should be extended to include allegations of "gang rape."

A Belgian prostitute who was flown to Washington in December 2011 for a sex party with Mr Strauss-Kahn and friends has told Belgian investigators that the 63-year-old French politician used force while trying to have anal sex with her. Three other men are alleged to have been present in a Washington hotel room, including a senior French police officer.

Three French magistrates are already investigating allegations that Mr Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he is known, was involved in "aggravated pimping" – organising sex parties with prostitutes in three countries. The Lille public prosecutor's office said yesterday they had sought formal permission to extend their inquiries to cover "gang rape".

The matter now rests with the French state prosecution service in Lille, which will decide next week whether to allow the magistrates to expand their investigation. Even though the alleged incident occurred in the United States, it could be covered by criminal law because four French citizens were allegedly involved.

Lawyers representing Mr Strauss-Kahn said yesterday that their client had never used violence against a woman. They said the fact that the possible new investigation had been leaked to the newspaper Libération proved that he was the victim of a "media lynching".

Almost a year ago, Mr Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York and accused of raping a hotel chambermaid, Nafissatou Diallo. Criminal proceedings were later dropped but he still faces a civil action by Ms Diallo.

Last month, French investigating magistrates placed Mr Strauss-Kahn under formal investigation – a step short of a charge – for "aggravated pimping". He is alleged to have played a leading role in organising orgies in hotels in Belgium, France and the US in 2009-11 at which prostitutes were present.

He admits being present at the parties but told investigators he had no idea the young women were prostitutes. Marie-Anne S, 25 at the time, told Belgian police helping the investigation that Mr Strauss-Kahn used force while trying to have anal sex with her in a Washington hotel room in December 2011.

According to a transcript of her evidence leaked to Libération, she said: "He held my hands. He pulled my hair. He hurt me." She added that she had made no formal complaint at the time because she had been paid to fly over to the US to have sex with Mr Strauss-Kahn and his friends.

The three magistrates charged with investigating the pimping affair – based in Lille, where the inquiry began – believe they have enough evidence to justify expanding their inquiry to rape.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to resign as IMF chief after his arrest in New York last year, is a former French finance minister. At the time of the Diallo allegations, he was the front-runner to be the Socialist candidate in the French presidential election, which finishes tomorrow. His lawyers said yesterday that news of the possible new allegations had been leaked "mischievously" to coincide with the election.

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