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Strauss-Kahn released after 2 days of questioning

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:56 PM EST, Wed February 22, 2012
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves a police station Wednesday in Lille, France, after two days of questioning.
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves a police station Wednesday in Lille, France, after two days of questioning.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn "responded to all of the questions," his attorney says
  • The 62-year-old ex-IMF chief is questioned about an alleged prostitution ring in France
  • He stepped down from IMF after hotel maid accused him of sexual assault, attempted rape
  • Criminal case fell apart after prosecutors cited credibility issues with maid's story

Paris (CNN) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, was released Wednesday from police custody in northern France after undergoing two days of questioning about an alleged prostitution ring.

"He responded to all of the questions, there were a certain number of hearings, on all of the subjects, and he responded in a perfectly calm manner and particularly complete," said Frederique Beaulieu, one of the former IMF managing director's two attorneys. "Everything is in the hands of the judges."

Beaulieu proclaimed her high-visibility client "perfectly satisfied that he has been listened to" and "in a great serenity."

She added that Strauss-Kahn, 62, was fatigued. "You're always tired after being in custody for two days; it's normal, of course," she said.

Police in France on Tuesday began to question Strauss-Kahn as they investigated an alleged prostitution ring that may have operated out of two hotels.

Strauss-Kahn had been urging authorities since September to question him over his alleged involvement in the ring, saying it would help clear his name.

His attorneys released a statement in November saying Strauss-Kahn wanted to address the so-called "media lynching" that he said falsely linked him to sex parties with prostitutes in Europe and the United States.

The attorneys' statement called the allegations against Strauss-Kahn "unhealthy, sensationalist and not without a political agenda."

In a December interview with radio station Europe1, Strauss-Kahn attorney Henri Le Clerc acknowledged his client attended such sex parties but said Strauss-Kahn was unaware the women in attendance were prostitutes.

"I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from a 'woman of the world' who is naked," he told the station.

In the past year, Strauss-Kahn has been linked with a number of sex scandals -- one of which torpedoed his expected plan to run for the French presidency -- but he has not been convicted of any crime.

He stepped down from the top job at the IMF after a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault and attempted rape in May.

The criminal case fell apart after prosecutors cited credibility issues with the maid's story despite forensic evidence that showed a sexual encounter occurred. She is pursuing a civil lawsuit.

The prostitution probe, nicknamed the "Carlton Affair" by the French press, kicked off in October.

It centers around Lille, where investigators began looking into claims that luxury hotels, including the Carlton, served as a base for a high-profile prostitution network. While prostitution is not illegal in France, it is illegal to profit from the prostitution of another person.

Authorities are also investigating whether corporate funds may have been used to pay for the prostitutes. In the Europe1 interview, Le Clerc said there was no evidence that such funds had been misappropriated.

A hotel manager and four other men were arrested last year in connection with the investigation.

Strauss-Kahn has not been arrested or charged in connection with the Carlton Affair, but the incident continues a string of sexual allegations against him.

A French writer has accused him of attempted rape. Tristane Banon alleged a 2003 attack, when she was 23, but it was not pursued because of a statute of limitations.

Strauss-Kahn denied the allegation and has filed a countersuit in France, alleging slander.

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