Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The pimping claims that put the former IMF chief in the spotlight

The disgraced IMF chief - who was once tipped to be the next French president - is set to go on trial over his alleged involvement in a sex ring

Helen Nianias
Monday 02 February 2015 14:16
Dominique Strauss-Kahn will go on trial today accused of aggravated pimping
Dominique Strauss-Kahn will go on trial today accused of aggravated pimping

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in the media again - here's what you need to know.

Pimping trial

The high-profile economist and member of the French Socialist Party is accused of helping to procure prostitutes for an alleged sex ring in a hotel in Lille, France. He's been charged with proxénétisme aggravé - aggravated pimping - and will appear in court on Monday. He's been accused of using contacts to hire women for sex parties in Lille, as well as Paris, Brussels, and Washington, USA.

Fighting the accusations

Strass-Kahn contends that he did attend sex parties, but was unaware that the women involved were paid prostitutes. He has described the charges as "dangerous and malicious insinuations and extrapolations". Aggravated pimping carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a €1.5 million fine. He denies the charges.

Unprecedented exposure

Strauss-Kahn will appear in court with 13 other people. This includes a barrister, luxury hotel managers, freemasons, a police commissioner and "Dodo the pimp" - the owner of a chain of brothels. Such a line-up has got the French media buzzing. But this is not a watershed moment for French society.

The Independent's correspondent John Lichfield says: “DSK destroyed what was left of the immunity which French politicians had enjoyed from revelations about their sex lives in 2012.

“Most French people are interested because DSK, long known to be a sexual obsessive in the Paris media-political village, is finally facing questioning.”

Hotel maid

The man referred to convivially as "DSK" was forced to step down as chief of the International Monetary Fund in May 2011 after a New York hotel maid accused him of raping her. The charges were dropped and Strauss-Kahn reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn failed to end the criminal investigation into his alleged role in organising sex parties with prostitutes in the US and France and Belgium


Strauss-Kahn and his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair, divorced in May 2013. Married for over 20 years, they initially split in 2013 before making it official. The editor of Huffington Post France, Sinclair said she had no idea of his "libertarian" sex life when they married in 1995.

"I know it sounds idiotic and you can believe me or not, but I did not know," Sinclair told television station France 2 in 2014. "When I married Dominique, I knew he was a charmer, that he was a seducer. That much I knew."

Anti-semitic portrayal

DSK and his ex-wife, who are both Jewish, were widely believed to be subjects of the film Welcome To New York, which aired at the Cannes Film Festival last May and was panned for being anti-Semitic. The film, which was inspired by the rape scandal and Strauss-Kahn's public disgrace, starred Gerard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset. Anne Sinclair said she was "disgusted with the so-called face-to-face between the two main characters, on which the authors and producers of the film project their fantasies about money and Jews."

Unlikely to convict

It is acknowledged that Strauss-Khan is unlikely to be found guilty. In 2014, the state prosecutor recommended that the case against Strauss-Kahn, but not the other 12 defendants, should be dropped. However, two magistrates who investigated the case for three years exercised their right to insist that DSK should be sent for trial.

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