Former head of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been acquitted of pimping charges.
He was charged with “aggravated pimping” for allegedly aiding and abetting prostitution of seven women – a charge punishable by up to 10 years.
This acquittal has drawn the line under a series of sexual scandals that have dogged Strauss-Kahn and dragged the most intimate details of his bedroom proclivities into the public eye.
Strauss-Kahn saw his high-flying career at the head of the International Monetary Fund — and his French presidential prospects — implode when a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in 2011.
During his trial in February, he calmly defended the accusations, saying that while he was a libertine who enjoyed group sex, he was unaware of any of the women attending the soirees had been paid to be there.
“I must have a sexuality which, compared to average men, is more rough. Women have the right not to like that whether they are prostitutes or not,” he said.
He said the use of prostitutes “horrified” him and that paying for sex would be too great a risk for a man at the head of the IMF, which was busy “saving the world” from the financial crisis that began in 2008.
Even the prosecuter Frederic Fevre called for Strauss-Kahn to be acquitted, saying that ”neither the judicial enquiry nor the hearing have established that Mr Strauss-Kahn is guilty”.
In their closing arguments, his lawyers said the case against him had “collapsed” into nothing more than an indictment of Strauss-Kahn`s morals, and the prosecution appeared to agree.
In another boost for Strauss-Kahn, two ex-prostitutes who attended the orgies dropped a civil lawsuit against him, with lawyers saying they lacked enough proof to win the case.Strauss-Kahn found himself in the dock alongside a colourful cast of 13 characters including a senior police officer and brothel owner Dominique Alderweireld, known as “Dodo the Pimp”.
Alderweireld admits providing prostitutes to friends of Strauss-Kahn, who are among the accused, and testified to keeping the women`s true nature a secret as they sought to impress the “future president of the republic”.
Fevre called for a series of suspended sentences and fines ranging from EUR 2,500 to EUR 20,000 (USD 2,800 to USD 22,000) for the 13 other accused.
“This was not a mafia network that was dismantled,” said Fevre, but a group of friends trying to “satisfy egos, ambitions and quite simply, physical desires”.