Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrested in prostitution case

 

Paris

The former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, will spend tonight behind bars in Lille after being arrested “by appointment” to answer questions about his links with an international prostitution ring.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, faces two, and maybe four, days of interrogation over his alleged participation in orgies with prostitutes in Lille, Brussels, Paris and Washington DC in 2009. A sprawling investigation into the so-called “Carlton affair” has already led to formal accusations against a senior French police officer, two hotel managers, several businessmen and a club and a brothel owner known as “Dodo la Saumure” (or Dodo the pickled mackerel).

Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former Socialist finance minister who was once favourite to win this spring’s presidential election, was first publicly linked with the investigation last autumn. He returned to France last August after American prosecutors dropped criminal charges that he had sexually assaulted a chambermaid in a Manhattan hotel in May.

Popularly known by his initials DSK, Mr Strauss-Kahn could face formal accusations of “complicity in organised pimping” and “receiving embezzled company funds”. Two businessmen, Fabrice Paskowski and David Roquet, who are known as Mr Strauss-Kahn’s “friends in the North”, are alleged to have paid for the orgies from their companies’ funds without authorisation.

DSK admits that he attended the orgies, or “swingers’ parties”, but denies any part in their organisation. Paying for sex is not illegal in France; organising paid-for sex is.

The former IMF chief says that he had no idea that the parties were funded by two large companies or that the young women present were call-girls. His lawyer, Henri Leclerc, caused offence in France in December by saying: “At these kinds of parties you're not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”

One of the parties, featuring young women flown in from northern France, occurred in a luxury hotel in the US capital on 11-13 May last year, the day before Mr Strauss-Kahn was accused of assaulting the chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo in the Manhattan Sofitel.

DSK has been asking for months to meet gendarmerie investigators to give his side of the “Carlton affair” (named after the top hotel in Lille alleged to have been the epicentre of the call-girl ring). To avoid arrest in front of TV cameras, he travelled by appointment to Lille yesterday and was placed in “garde à vue”, or custody, for 48 hours with a possible extension for another 48 hours.

Mr Strauss-Kahn’s prosecution is far from certain. Investigators may decide that, even if he knew that the women were call-girls, there is no proof that he organised the events. It could also be difficult to prove that he knew that the parties were financed with embezzled funds.

The two companies involved include a subsidiary of the large construction firm Eiffage, descended from the company which built the Eiffel Tower. The executives, since dismissed, insist that the payments were approved by higher management.

They say that it was regarded as a legitimate “entertainment” expense to establish links with a senior politician who might be the next President of the Republic. Both companies dismiss these claims.

Witness statements by the call-girls have been widely leaked in the French press in the last few days. The women were allegedly recruited through Dominique Alderweireld, “known as Dodo la Saumure”, a Frenchman who operates legal brothels in towns on the Belgian side of the Franco-Belgian border. (Saumure is the kind of brine used to pickle mackerel, which is a French slang word for pimp.)

Mounia R., 38, said that she flew to Washington to take part in parties with DSK for €2,400 a weekend. She said that she had also consented to a “violent” sexual encounter with DSK on another occasion for €900. “Everyone present must have been well aware that I was being paid,” she told investigators.

Another woman, Florence V., said that she was “almost sure” that DSK assumed that she was an unpaid libertine, not a prostitute. “We saw DSK twice at the Hotel W (a luxury hotel close to the White House in Washington) in mid May 2011,” she told investigators. “I made love to DSK on each of these occasions…He was very charming with the women present. He was never violent with me.”

An article in Le Monde this week suggested that the parties may have been organised to allow Mr Strauss-Kahn to satisfy his sexual appetites without falling foul of the Washington establishment after his affair with a Hungarian IMF official in 2008.

The entire investigation has been dismissed by some defence lawyers as an “unFrench” sexual witch-hunt. Eric Dupont-Moretti, lawyer for David Roquet, the former Eiffage executive, said that the affair was a symptom of the “Clintonisation” of a once sexually tolerant nation. France he said, was becoming a country where a “heavy consumer of women was now regarded as a sex addict who should seek treatment and ask repentance”.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence