Strauss-Kahn demands to testify in prostitution probe
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn demanded Friday to be questioned by judges investigating an alleged prostitution ring, after media reports linked him to the case.
Claiming he is the victim of a "media lynching", the 62-year-old French politician said through his lawyers that he wants to address allegations he took part in orgies with prostitutes in Washington and Paris.
"Such a situation, which everyone can see is unhealthy, sensationalist and not without political overtones, cannot continue," Strauss-Kahn's legal team said in a statement.
"Dominique Strauss-Kahn states once again that he is ready to explain himself, not before the uncertain court of public opinion, but before those who are conducting the judicial inquiry."
With the scandal still making daily headlines, the lawyers' statement said their client would like to be interviewed "as quickly as possible."
Strauss-Kahn resigned from the International Monetary Fund in May after a New York hotel chambermaid accused him of sexual assault and attempted rape and he was arrested.
The US case against him eventually collapsed over doubts about the alleged victim's testimony, but not before it had destroyed Strauss-Kahn's hopes of running as the Socialist candidate in next year's French presidential race.
On his return to France he faced new allegations.
First, a young writer accused him of attempting to rape her in 2003 but, while prosecutors said there was prima facie evidence of sexual assault, the case was too old to pursue.
Now, Strauss-Kahn has been implicated in an entirely separate investigation into an alleged prostitution ring said to have operated out of luxury hotels in the northern French city of Lille.
Magistrates have already charged several leading local figures with organising the ring and there are suspicions that a construction company executive used his firm's money to entertain guests at sex parties.
Strauss-Kahn is said to have attended these parties at a Paris luxury hotel and in Washington, where he was joined by friends from France and prostitutes flown out to provide entertainment.
This week, the French daily Liberation published what it said were text messages sent by Strauss-Kahn to Fabrice Paszkowski, a northern businessman who has been charged with pimping and racketeering and detained in custody.
In one of the texts, which the paper said dated to 2009, Strauss-Kahn allegedly wrote: "I'm taking a girl to do the nightclubs in Vienna on Thursday May 14. Do you fancy bringing a little miss along?"
In another he told his friend: "Reserve the suite with the pool."
Later in the year, Strauss-Kahn allegedly suggested that Paszkowski "come and discover a magnificent sexy nightclub in Madrid with me," and then planned a trip to Ghent, in Belgium.
"For Ghent," Strauss-Kahn allegedly wrote, "you have to tell me what we're dealing with. Is it a club or a private party?"
The press has also carried reports of Strauss-Kahn attending parties in a Paris hotel with the alleged kingpin of the ring "Dodo la Saumure", who runs massage parlours in Belgium, and Lille's chief of police.
While it is not clear whether prosecutors think the former IMF chief has committed a crime, former prosecutor turned Green presidential candidate Eva Joly has suggested that if the construction firm's money was used to pay for prostitutes that would constitute an illegal misuse of company funds
The lawyers said the press reports and the text messages could only have come from the inquiry and demanded that the leaks stop and that Strauss-Kahn be allowed to give judges his side of the story.
© 2011 AFP