France Drops Rape Investigation into Ex-IMF Head Strauss-Kahn

(Reuters) - France's public prosecution service said on Tuesday it was shelving an investigation into allegations that disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a man once tipped to become president of France, had engaged in group rape.

The prosecution service said in a statement it had taken the decision after a young woman retracted an allegation against the 63-year-old, who is also fighting wider accusations of sexual misdemeanor in France and a civil case in the United States.

Strauss-Kahn's legal team welcomed what amounted to a partial victory for their client, who has asked a court to end a wider French inquiry into sex parties organized out of the northern city of Lille.

"This is a common sense decision," Richard Malka, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, told i>TELE television. "The fight goes on."

Strauss-Kahn was about to announce he would run for the French presidency when police arrested him in May 2011 in New York after a hotel maid alleged he had tried to rape her.

New York prosecutors dropped those charges, citing concerns about the credibility of the accuser, but hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo is now pursuing him in a civil case and his legal battles have piled up since his return to France.

In the so-called Carlton Affair, named after a luxury hotel in the northern French city of Lille, investigators are trying to establish whether Strauss-Kahn participated in sex parties to a degree that amounted to actively encouraging prostitution.

Having sex with prostitutes in France is not illegal but pimping is.

(Reporting by Pierre Savary in Lille and Brian Love in Paris; Editing by Andrew Osborn)


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