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Strauss-Kahn steers clear of pimps in latest sex scandal

After fighting off sexual assault accusations from both sides of the Atlantic, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is now caught up in yet another below-the-belt affair. Nothing illegal this time – at least not in France – the former IMF chief is said to have employed the services of a prostitute. The only problem is, she belongs to an illegal prostitute ring, based in the northern city of Lille, which is currently under police investigation. The details of the operation are as shady as a B-movie script. Brought in from across the border in Belgium (a 20-minute drive away), the women, some of them underage, were then “employed” in upmarket Lille hotels. One of them, the four-star Hotel Carlton (right), has been closed down pending the investigation, after both its manager and PR chief were arrested on pimping charges along with three other people. According to investigators, the men advertised the services on offer as “a room with a package” or “a room with a present”. To make matters worse, a local police chief, a judge, and high-flying construction businessman have all been taken in for questioning. But the cherry on the cake comes in the form of another revealing detail: a deceased African head of state was one of the clients identified. Overseas delivery According to criminal investigators, at least two prostitutes from the ring identified Strauss-Kahn as a client. One of their colleagues – a 62-year-old who goes by the name of ‘Dodo la Saumure’ – was flown into New York numerous times during the period Strauss-Kahn was based there. According to French weekly Journal du Dimanche (screen-grab below), which has a source close to the case, investigators suspect DSK of being at the receiving end of these visits. In a desperate attempt to clear his name, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer appealed to investigators Sunday to interview him as quickly as possible, in order to "end dangerous and malicious insinuations and extrapolations". There was no mention of Dodo, or whether Strauss-Kahn had sex with her. But the message was clear: Strauss-Kahn had nothing to do with the prostitution ring she is employed by. Paying a third party for sex is illegal under French law. If Strauss-Kahn is found to have paid her directly, then he’s off the hook. “Frequenting prostitutes is not illegal,” a source close to the case reminded French daily Le Parisien on Monday. “If we wanted to sentence everybody in France who pays for sex, then we wouldn’t even have enough courtrooms to do it.” If one thing has been confirmed for the French public, it’s that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is an insatiable sex fiend. As one reader pointed out Monday, “you have to wonder where he found the time to manage the IMF.”   Hotel Carlton photo by Flickr user benoit.darcy under the Creative Commons license.