Acquit Dominique Strauss-Kahn, says French prosecutor

  • 17 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (C), flanked by his lawyer Frederique Beaulieu (L), leaves his hotel on February 17, 2015 in Lille, France Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption The judge must now decide whether Dominique Strauss-Kahn is guilty of pimping

A French prosecutor has called for the acquittal of the former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on charges of pimping.

Lille prosecutor Frederic Fevre said neither the investigation nor the evidence heard in court had established that he was guilty.

Mr Strauss-Kahn has always denied knowing that women who took part in orgies with him were prostitutes.

The judge must decide whether he did know or if he organised the parties.

In France, being found guilty of pimping carries with it a jail sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of €1.5m ($1.7; £1.1m).

Analysis: Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris

What is the point of a trial when the prosecutor himself asks for the accused to be acquitted? In the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the pimping charges, it is not altogether a stupid question.

From the start there have been doubts over whether the case against the former IMF chief was really strong enough to go to court. Even before the trial, the prosecutor's office recommended that the charges be dropped.

To get a conviction for "proxenetisme" - pimping - it had to be proved that Mr Strauss-Kahn at the very least knew the women at the sex parties were prostitutes; but nothing was ever produced to show that he did.

Some are happy because at least the evidence showed Mr Strauss-Kahn at his sleazy worst. But many are uneasy about the way a court of law seems to have been turned into a court of moral censure.

'Widely predicted'

Yesterday, five out of the six plaintiffs - four prostitutes and an association - dropped their accusations against Mr Strauss-Kahn.

They abandoned their damages claims saying they had no proof that Mr Strauss-Kahn knew he was involved with prostitutes.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris described Mr Fevre's decision as "widely predicted".

He added that unlike the investigating magistrate, the state prosecutor had always been sceptical about securing a conviction.

Correspondents are predicting that despite the salacious revelations made about his sex life, Mr Strauss-Kahn will now avoid conviction.

The three-week trial concludes at the end of the week and the judge will issue his verdict at some point afterwards.

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