Paying for sex with a prostitute is not illegal in France, but conspiring to supply prostitutes is a criminal offence, and it is also illegal for public officials to receive gifts (including sexual services). DSK is understood to have attended a number of sex parties in 2010 and 2011, the last of these being in Washington DC shortly before he was arrested in May 2011 on charges of attempted rape. Although the charges were subsequently dropped, they prompted DSK’s resignation as head of the IMF, and destroyed his hopes of contesting the forthcoming French presidential elections. With hindsight, this may have been a blessing in disguise for the Socialist Party. François Hollande had tailed DSK in the opinion polls but went on to win the nomination once his rival was forced out of the race, and he now looks poised to win the presidency back for the Socialists. He might not be the most exciting of candidates, but at least he does not have any skeletons (or naked women) in his cupboard. As DSK’s reputation is further tarnished, Socialist officials will be grateful that the latest revelations are not set to take the party down with the man who was nearly their candidate.
DSK’s strategy for dealing with the Carlton allegations (named after the hotel in Lille that served as the epicentre for the alleged prostitution ring) is consistent with the way that he handled previous scandals. He did not deny having had sexual relations with Nafissatou Diallo (the New York chambermaid who accused DSK of attempted rape), but merely insisted that the relations were consensual. A similar defence was offered against charges of attempted rape brought about by French writer, Tristane Banon. He is now claiming that he was not aware that the women he slept with at these parties were prostitutes; his lawyer stated, “I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17110618). If we are to believe DSK’s version of events, then he must be (or believe himself to be) a real woman magnet. Naked women throw themselves at him at parties and have sex with him just because he is so attractive. A maid cleaning his room decides to abandon her work and perform fellatio on him because the sight of him naked gets her so randy. A young woman journalist interviewing him finds herself seduced by his magnetic charm. Maybe there are a lot of young women out there who find themselves hastily discarding their knickers at the sight of an overweight man in his sixties. He claims never to have resorted to violent coercion, nor to have known that women were being paid to have sex with him. However, at a time where even Sarkozy is owning up to mistakes and eating a big chunk of humble pie, the defensive approach of DSK appears to be rather out of synch with the current preference for a little humility. Even if he is as charming with the ladies as he thinks he is, women voters (and men too, for that matter) have deserted him in droves. The Socialists must surely be counting their blessings that DSK’s star fell early enough to ensure that he never became their candidate.