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Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn acquitted

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been cleared of pimping charges, a French court in Lille has announced. The decision matches the view of the state prosecutor, who said there was not enough evidence to convict DSK.

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was acquitted of pimping charges by a French judge on Friday.

The 66-year-old economist was all smiles as he arrived in court in the northern French city of Lille.

DSK, as Strauss-Kahn is known in France, saw his high-flying career at the head of the International Monetary Fund implode when a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in 2011.

Key charges against Strauss-Kahn included aggravated pimping in relation to sex parties set up in Lille, Paris and Washington - a charge punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Seven of his 13 co-defendants, including brothel owner Dominique Alderweireld, known as "Dodo the Pimp," were also acquitted. One by one the accused were cleared of charges of trafficking prostitutes and pimping them to a network of local businessmen and police officials in a Lille hotel.

Sentences ranged from fines to probation for the other defendants.

Unaware of women being paid

At his trial in February

, Strauss-Kahn calmly fended off the accusations, saying that while he was a libertine who enjoyed group sex,

he never knew the women

brought to the orgies were prostitutes.

"I must have a sexuality which, compared to average men, is more rough. Women have the right not to like that, whether they are prostitutes or not," he was quoted as saying.

Citing lack of evidence to convict Strauss-Kahn, prosecutor Frederic Fevre said there was not a criminal network at work.

"This was not a mafia network that was dismantled," he said, but a group of friends trying to "satisfy egos, ambitions and quite simply, physical desires."

ra/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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