French pimping trial to start for ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn

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French pimping trial to start for ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn
Femen activists are detained by police after jumping in front of the car carrying former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (not seen) upon his arrival for his trial in Lille, northern France, on February 10, 2015. Three topless women from the protest group Femen jumped on the car of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the former IMF chief arrived to testify at his trial for 'aggravated pimping.' With slogans scrawled on their half-naked bodies and hurling insults at the car, the three protesters were quickly rounded up by police as the car entered an underground parking area. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Outside the courthouse, topless women protest as Dominique Strauss-Kahn heads into court. Inside the courthouse the former IMF chief faces pimping charges. The 65- year old is accused of instigating about a dozen parties involving prostitutes in France, Brussels and Washington, D.C.. He acknowledged a fondness for "libertine" parties -- but says he never paid anyone and didn't know the women were prostitutes.
Former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves his hotel in Lille, northern France, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 as he goes on trial for sex charges at a court. Strauss-Kahn sat nonchalantly with folded-arms and stretched legs Tuesday, before telling a French court he was completely unaware that women who participated in orgies at luxury hotels in Paris and Washington were prostitutes. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A Femen activist is led away by police officers Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 as she protests in front of Lille courthouse in Lille, northern France, where Dominique Strauss-Kahn goes on trial for sex charges in France. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, whose career went down in flames amid accusations of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York, is facing similarly shocking charges in France: aggravated pimping and involvement in a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A Femen activist is held down by police officers as she protests Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 in front of the Lille courthouse in Lille, northern France, where Dominique Strauss-Kahn goes on trial for sex charges in France. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, whose career went down in flames amid accusations of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York, is facing similarly shocking charges in France: aggravated pimping and involvement in a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
A Femen activist is taken away by police officers as she protests Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 in front of the Lille courthouse in Lille, northern France, where Dominique Strauss-Kahn goes on trial for sex charges in France. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, whose career went down in flames amid accusations of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York, is facing similarly shocking charges in France: aggravated pimping and involvement in a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Police detain a topless Femen activist who jumped in front of the car carrying former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (not seen) as he arrives for his trial in Lille, northern France, on February 10, 2015. Three topless women from the protest group Femen jumped on the car of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the former IMF chief arrived to testify at his trial for 'aggravated pimping.' With slogans scrawled on their half-naked bodies and hurling insults at the car, the three protesters were quickly rounded up by police as the car entered an underground parking area. AFP PHOTO / DENIS CHARLET (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
A Femen activist reacts as she is detained by police after she jumped in front of the car carrying former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (not seen) upon his arrival for his trial in Lille, northern France, on February 10, 2015. Three topless women from the protest group Femen jumped on the car of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the former IMF chief arrived to testify at his trial for 'aggravated pimping.' With slogans scrawled on their half-naked bodies and hurling insults at the car, the three protesters were quickly rounded up by police as the car entered an underground parking area. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police detain topless Femen activists who jumped in front of the car carrying former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (not seen) as he arrives for his trial in Lille, northern France, on February 10, 2015. Three topless women from the protest group Femen jumped on the car of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the former IMF chief arrived to testify at his trial for 'aggravated pimping.' With slogans scrawled on their half-naked bodies and hurling insults at the car, the three protesters were quickly rounded up by police as the car entered an underground parking area. AFP PHOTO / DENIS CHARLET (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves his hotel on February 11, 2015, in the northern French city of Lille to attend his trial on chages of procuring women. Fourteen people in total are facing the charge, in a trial involving interlocking cases of well-connected friends accused of introducing each other to prostitutes, and procuring prostitutes for sex parties. Strauss-Kahn, the most high-profile protagonist, admits to attending orgies organized by his entourage, but denies knowing the women lavishing their attention on him were prostitutes. Strauss-Kahn denied knowing the women he had orgies with were prostitutes and said paying for sex would be too great a risk for a man who was busy 'saving the world.' AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Carlton Public Relations officer Rene Kojfer arrives at the courthouse in Lille, northern France, on February 6, 2015 during a French pimping trial involving a former IMF chief. Members of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's entourage are accused of procuring prostitutes from Rene Kojfer, 74, former public relations manager for the Carlton and Dominique Alderweireld, a notorious brothel owner in Belgium just across the border who is known as 'Dodo the Pimp'. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - This Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, file photo shows former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, speaking during a press conference after his meeting with Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, whose career nosedived amid accusations he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York, is facing Monday Feb.2, 2015 charges in France: aggravated pimping and involvement in a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)
The former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn is due to appear in court Monday as one of the defendants in a trial investigating an alleged prostitution ring. Photo: Reuters
A court sketch shows presiding judge Bernard Lemaire (C) attending the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / BENOIT PEYRUCQ (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
A court sketch shows defendants French-born pimp and defendant Dominique Alderweireld or 'Dodo la Saumure' (2nd R) and his partner and associate Beatrice Legrain (2nd L) attending the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / BENOIT PEYRUCQ (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Dupond-Moretti, lawyer of the ex-director of a BTP Eiffage construction group subsidiary and defendant David Roquet takes a break at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015, on the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 02: Eric Dupont-Moretti, the lawyer of David Roquet arrives at the Lille courthouse, on February 2, 2015, in Lille, France.The trial in the so-called Carlton affair in which the ex-president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn is implicated for his involvement in a prostitution ring between northern France and Belgium, will be held from February 2 to 20 at the Criminal Court of Lille in northern France. (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 02: Henri Leclerc, lawyer of former IMF chief and defendant Dominique Strauss-Kahn, talks to the press as he arrives at the Lille courthouse, on February 2, 2015, in Lille, France.The trial in the so-called Carlton affair in which the ex-president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn is implicated for his involvement in a prostitution ring between northern France and Belgium, will be held from February 2 to 20 at the Criminal Court of Lille in northern France. (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 02: Beatrice Legrain, partner and associate of French-born alleged pimp Dominique Alderweireld or 'Dodo la Saumure' arrives at the Lille courthouse, on February 2, 2015, in Lille, France.The trial in the so-called Carlton affair in which the ex-president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn is implicated for his involvement in a prostitution ring between northern France and Belgium, will be held from February 2 to 20 at the Criminal Court of Lille in northern France. (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)
Journalists gather outside the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015, on the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the public walk through a metal detector as they arrive at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015, on the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Henri Leclerc, lawyer of former IMF chief and defendant Dominique Strauss-Kahn, talks to the press as he arrives at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015, on the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Dupond-Moretti, lawyer of the ex-director of a BTP Eiffage construction group subsidiary and alleged pimp, David Roquet, arrives at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015, on the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
French police officer and alleged pimp Jean-Christophe Lagarde (C) and his lawyer Olivier Bluche arrive at the Lille courthouse, northern France, on February 2, 2015, on the first day of the so-called 'Carlton Case' trial. The sexual proclivities of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn come under the spotlight again on February 2 when he goes on trial in Lille for 'pimping' four years after a sex scandal cost him a shot at the presidency. The disgraced 65-year-old economist finds himself back in the dock, accused of being part of a prostitution ring used by his entourage to organise sex parties for him in Brussels, Paris and Washington. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
The Hotel Carlton stands illuminated in Lille, France, on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn is one of 14 men and women on trial in the so-called Carlton Affair, known for the four-star hotel in the northern French city of Lille where some of the alleged encounters took place and some of the defendants worked. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A cyclist passes the Hotel Carlton in Lille, France, on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn is one of 14 men and women on trial in the so-called Carlton Affair, known for the four-star hotel in the northern French city of Lille where some of the alleged encounters took place and some of the defendants worked. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, gestures during a press conference after his meeting with Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. Strauss-Kahn, whose career has suffered from a series of sex scandals is reinventing himself as this time as an economic adviser to the Serbian government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, listens to a question during a press conference after his meeting with Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. Strauss-Kahn, whose career has suffered from a series of sex scandals is reinventing himself as this time as an economic adviser to the Serbian government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, listens to Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, right, during a press conference, in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. Strauss-Kahn, whose career has suffered from a series of sex scandals, is reinventing himself, this time as an economic adviser to the Serbian government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Former IMF Secretary General Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Myriam L'Aouffir arrive for the award ceremony at the 40th American Film Festival in Deauville, Normandy, western France. Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
FILE - This Thusday Dec. 11, 2012, file photo shows former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaving his apartment building in Paris, France. A lawyer for Dominique Strauss-Kahn says French prosecutors are seeking to drop all charges against the former International Monetary Fund chief in a case involving a hotel prostitution ring. The case in the French city of Lille hinged on whether he knew he was partying with prostitutes and whose money was used to pay them. His lawyers have said Strauss-Kahn had attended "libertine" gatherings but didn't know that some women there were paid. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)
Former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn shakes hands with Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, left, in front of the media in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday Sept. 17, 2013. Strauss-Kahn, whose career has suffered from a series of sex scandals is reinventing himself as this time as an economic adviser to the Serbian government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
FILE - This Saturday, May 25, 2013, file photo shows former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn arriving for the screening of Only Lovers Left Alive at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France. A lawyer for Dominique Strauss-Kahn says prosecutors have asked to drop all charges against the former International Monetary Fund chief in a case involving a hotel prostitution ring. The Lille case hinged on whether he knew he was partying with prostitutes and whose money was used to pay them. His lawyers have said Strauss-Kahn had attended "libertine" gatherings but didn't know that some women there were paid. (AP Photo/David Azia, File)
Former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, right, and guest Myriam L'Aouffir arrive for the screening of Only Lovers Left Alive at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Former IMF Secretary General Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his companion Myriam L'Aouffir, share a laugh as Serena Williams, of the U.S, plays Russia's Maria Sharapova during the Women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Saturday, June 8, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, left, shakes hands with Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic after a press conference, in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. Strauss-Kahn, whose career has suffered from a series of sex scandals, is reinventing himself, this time as an economic adviser to the Serbian government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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PARIS (AP) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared in court Monday to face accusations of taking part in an international prostitution ring set up to provide him with prostitutes for orgies at luxury hotels in France and the U.S.

The former head of the International Monetary Fund, once considered a near shoo-in as France's president, went on trial in the northern city of Lille to face charges of aggravated pimping and involvement in a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels.

Strauss-Kahn arrived in a black sedan with tinted windows and drove into an underground parking lot, while other defendants entered the courthouse through a crowd of reporters and cameras, accompanied by their lawyers and watched over by a heavy police and military presence.

The French economist known widely as DSK faces up to 10 years in prison and a 1.5 million-euro ($1.7 million) fine, as he and more than a dozen other French and Belgian businessmen and police officers go on trial.

The trial is scheduled to last three weeks, with Strauss-Kahn not expected to testify until Feb. 10.

Investigators have compiled hundreds of pages of testimony from prostitutes describing the orgies allegedly organized by the 65-year-old Strauss-Kahn and his co-defendants, centered on the Carlton Hotel in Lille, near the Belgian border. Strauss-Kahn says he took part in "libertine" activities but insists he never knew the women involved were prostitutes.

It's not illegal to pay for sex in France, but it's against the law to solicit or to run a prostitution business.

Hundreds of reporters are covering the trial, making it one of the highest-profile cases in France in years.

In 2011, Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting Guinean-born maid Nafissatou Diallo in New York, accusations that ended his high-flying finance career.

As head of the Washington-based IMF between 2007 and 2011, Strauss-Kahn was also tipped to become the French Socialist party's presidential candidate for the 2012 election.

That was before he was arrested and jailed in New York for four days. Diallo told police he forced her to perform oral sex, tried to rape her and tore a ligament in her shoulder after she arrived to clean his luxury suite at the Hotel Sofitel.

Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign from his $500,000-a-year IMF position, even though New York prosecutors dropped the case three months later because they said Diallo had undercut her credibility by lying about her background and changing her account of her actions right after the alleged attack.

Strauss-Kahn said the sexual encounter was consensual but called it "a moral failing."

Diallo later reached a confidential settlement with Strauss-Kahn in a separate civil complaint.

No sooner had the U.S. action ended than Strauss-Kahn was named in the "Carlton Affair" case. French police detained and questioned him for 30 hours in 2012 as part of their investigation into the alleged prostitution ring.

Prostitutes questioned in the case said that between 2009 and 2011 - precisely when the world's leaders were looking to the IMF chief for a way out of the global financial crisis - Strauss-Kahn was organizing orgies at luxury hotels in Paris, at a restaurant in the French capital and also in Washington.

Prosecutors filed preliminary charges of aggravated pimping in March 2012. Months later, Strauss-Kahn's more than 20-year marriage to prominent French television journalist and wealthy heiress Anne Sinclair crumbled. Investigating judges ordered him to stand trial in 2013, ignoring prosecutors' recommendation that the charge be dropped.

In recent years, Strauss-Kahn has made several attempts to re-enter French public life, appearing at the Cannes Film Festival and giving a long interview about the euro crisis to a French news program. The trial will test Strauss-Kahn's bid to put a string of torrid sex scandals behind him.

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