LONDON, UK – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been handed preliminary charges in France over his alleged involvement in a prostitution ring.
The one-time French presidential hopeful faces charges of procuring prostitutes and involvement in an “organized gang,” and has been placed under formal investigation, according to Fox News.
Investigating judges reportedly questioned Strauss-Kahn, 62, for several hours in the northern city of Lille on Monday.
The allegations against the ex-IMF head center on his involvement in a gang that supplied prostitutes for orgies at the Carlton Hotel in Lille, as well as at locations in Paris and Washington.
Magistrates are also investigating allegations that business associates of Strauss Kahn were involved in the vice ring, and paid for call girls using embezzled funds.
While prostitution is legal in France, it is against the law to profit for vice or use embezzled funds to pay escorts. Eight people have already been charged over the so-called “Carlton affair,” and Strauss-Kahn was held in police custody for 48 hours last month at the beginning of his formal questioning.
Strauss-Kahn has admitted attending parties in Paris and Washington in 2010 and 2011 where authorities believe call girls were provided by a gang. However, he denies knowing that the women were prostitutes.
Lawyer Richard Malka told reporters Monday that his client “firmly declares that he is not guilty of these acts and of never having the least inkling that the women he met could have been prostitutes,” adding that it would be wrong to prosecute Strauss-Kahn for “simple libertine activity,” Sky News reports.
More from GlobalPost: Strauss-Kahn saga to become film?
The former IMF head, who faces up to 20 years in prison if tried and convicted, was released on bail of $135,000 on Monday, according to the BBC. Prosecutors say Strauss-Kahn is not allowed to contact defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses or the media regarding the case.
Strauss-Kahn was widely viewed as a likely Socialist candidate in France’s presidential elections in April, but he gave up on his presidential ambitions and resigned as IMF chief after being charged in New York with the attempted rape of a hotel chambermaid.
The case was later dropped, although the maid is now bringing a civil case against Strauss-Kahn, which is due to start in New York on Wednesday. Strauss-Kahn denies any wrongdoing.
Judge Douglas McKeon will be asked to rule on a motion put forward by Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, who argue the case should be dismissed on the grounds that their client enjoyed diplomatic immunity at the time of the alleged attack in May last year, according to the Agence France Presse.
More from GlobalPost: Dominique Strauss-Kahn questioned in prostitution case