Dominique Strauss-Kahn Acquitted on Charges of ‘Aggravated Pimping’

The former IMF chief said he attended sex parties to blow off steam.


After the former IMF director and French presidential aspirant’s career fell apart amid allegations of sexual assault, and prosecutors in his home country pressed pimping charges, it seemed as if Dominique Strauss-Kahn was destined not for the Élysée Palace but for a jail cell. On Friday, however, he was acquitted of “aggravated pimping” charges after convincing a court that he only participated in — but didn’t help plan — sex parties.

After the verdict was read, Strauss-Kahn was overheard telling his daughter: “All that for this? What a waste.”

Strauss-Kahn had maintained that he attended the parties as a way to blow off steam amid the global financial crisis, and said that he had believed the women he was having sex with were just “swingers,” like him.

The economic mandarin’s fall from grace has opened a window into the exclusive circles Strauss-Kahn traveled in, revealing a world of opulent parties and fixers willing to cater to the whims of powerful men. The charges against Strauss-Kahn stemmed from an investigation into the Hotel Carlton in Lille, France. Investigators there found that women had been offered to businessmen at the hotel as a “dessert course” for lunch.

Paying for sex is not illegal in France, but providing prostitutes is. Strauss-Kahn’s acquittal had been expected after prosecutors admitted they did not have enough evidence to prove that he participated in the latter activity.

Photo credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering cyberspace, its conflicts, and controversies. @eliasgroll

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