French paper reveals lurid claims in DSK 'pimping' case

PARIS (AFP) - Sex parties attended by Dominique Strauss-Kahn were described by witnesses as "carnage with a heap of mattresses on the floor", a newspaper said on Wednesday, citing a report by judges who charged him with pimping.

The former International Monetary Fund chief and 12 other defendants were last month ordered to stand trial on charges of "aggravated pimping as part of a group" over an alleged prostitution ring in the northern French city of Lille.

French daily Le Figaro on Wednesday published extracts from a legal document in which judges probing the case laid out the reasons why they ordered the 64-year-old to face trial.

The case centres on allegations that prostitutes were supplied for sex parties in Lille, some of which are said to have taken place at the city's upmarket Carlton Hotel.

Magistrates in the affair are examining whether Strauss-Kahn knew that the women involved in the orgies were being paid - a claim he has always strenuously denied.

Based on countless statements from witnesses including prostitutes, the magistrates said in the report that the sex parties had been variously described as a form of "sexual consumption" or as "carnage with a heap of mattresses on the floor".

The judges argued that it was not just a question of "debauchery" but of "ordering services". The case also centres on whether Strauss-Kahn helped organise the parties.

According to the newspaper, the judges argue in their report that the parties centred around Strauss-Kahn and only took place when he was around.

They also argue that he made available a flat that he rented for the orgies.

One of Strauss-Kahn's lawyers has denounced the decision to go to trial - which could take place next year - as part of a "relentless" judicial campaign against his client.

The pimping charge against Strauss-Kahn is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up 1.5 million euros (S$2.5 million).

The so-called "Carlton affair" came to light after Strauss-Kahn resigned from the Washington-based IMF over an alleged sexual assault on a New York hotel maid.

That case was closed in December when Strauss-Kahn agreed to pay undisclosed damages - reportedly in excess of US$1.5 million (S$1.9 million) - to the hotel maid. He has always said the encounter was consensual.