Paris, June 12:
A French court on Friday acquitted former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of charges of aggravated pimping and allegedly orchestrating a hotel prostitution ring.
The verdict from the court in Lille was expected after a prosecutor last February called for his acquittal for lack of proof, Xinhua news agency reported.
“They have paraded the man’s private life without any respect, without dignity, and without use,” Richard Malka, Strauss-Kahn’s defence lawyer was quoted as saying by the news channel BFMTV.
Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to quit his post in 2011 over an alleged sexual assault in a New York hotel, was implicated, upon returning home, in a separate sex scandal, including procuring prostitutes for sex parties in Paris, Lille and Washington from 2008 to 2011.
He stood, alongside 13 co-defendants, charged with “aggravated pimping”.
Strauss-Kahn has admitted to being present at the orgies but has always maintained that he did not know that some of the women involved were being paid.
The verdict brings to a close four years of legal proceedings against Strauss-Kahn, including charges of attempted rape which were later dropped in 2012, a BBC report said.
Sex workers described his rough behaviour at some of the parties. But, Strauss-Kahn said that he was not on trial for “deviant practices”.
During the closing arguments at his trial, Lille prosecutor Frederic Fevre told the court that they were “working with the penal code, not the moral code”.
Fevre also said that neither the investigation nor the evidence in court had established that he was guilty.
Earlier, five of the six plaintiffs in the case dropped their accusations against him.
Under French criminal law, pimping is punishable with 10 years imprisonment and a 1.5-million euro ($1.68 million) fine. Pimping is defined as an activity which helps prostitution, profiting from, or hiring a person for prostitution.
Strauss-Kahn, who was considered a viable presidential candidate to compete for the country’s top job in 2012, saw his political career end after his May 2011 arrest in New York over rape charges made by a Sofitel Hotel room-cleaner, Naffisatou Diallo.
After the charges were dropped, the ex-IMF boss kept his distance from France’s political life, leaving the way open to Francois Hollande to win the race to the Elysee Palace three years ago. (IANS)