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Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was acquitted Friday of charges that he instigated sex parties with prostitutes in the midst of the global financial crisis.
The French court verdict closes four years of legal drama and comes four months after a state prosecutor called for the 66-year-old to be cleared because of a lack of proof. Ten others were also acquitted.
The panel of judges ruled that Strauss-Kahn was not involved in hiring the women or paying them.
Strauss-Kahn had told the court the parties were "recreational sessions" and he did not know the women who took part were prostitutes. In often sordid testimony, the women described sometimes brutal get-togethers that, they said, were not fun for them at all.
Strauss-Kahn was among more than a dozen defendants, including hotel managers, entrepreneurs, a lawyer and a police chief. They were accused of participating in or organizing the collective sexual encounters in Paris, Washington and in the Brussels region in 2008-2011, when Strauss-Kahn was IMF chief and married. Only one, a hotel manager, was convicted in the pimping case.
Allegations against Strauss-Kahn started when a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in 2011. That case was settled out of court, but it ended Strauss-Kahn's ambitions to become president of France.