Dominique Strauss-Kahn had no idea he was sleeping with prostitutes, a businessman accused alongside him claimed yesterday (Friday).
David Roquet, who is accused of setting up sex parties with prostitutes for the former head of the International Monetary Fund and others, insisted that he had discreetly paid the women afterwards.
Mr Roquet, who is one of 14 defendants in a pimping trial in Lille, northern France, said he had told Mr Strauss-Kahn that one was a restaurant owner from Brussels and the others worked for his construction company. The parties, he added, were no "sex slaughter" as investigating magistrates had suggested.
"The girls who accompanied us were elegant, cultivated. It's not like being parked up in a car in the pouring rain," he told the French television station BFM before testifying.
He said he enjoyed spending "an afternoon with a man who was the second most-important person in the world and a future president of the republic", adding: "That was my goal, professionally. It was to organise a lunch with Mr Strauss-Kahn and heads of business."
The testimony could strengthen Mr Strauss-Kahn's claims that he thought all the women taking part were, like him, libertines who loved free sex, despite at least one of the women insisting that he would have to be "naive" not to know.
A total of 14 people - including businessmen and police connected through freemasonry - are accused of "aggravated pimping" for their part in organising the prostitutes for the sex parties in Lille, Paris and Washington.
At the trial yesterday, Emmanuel Riglaire, a lawyer accused of introducing a prostitute to the head of public relations of the Carlton Hotel in Lille, insisted that the case had come to court only because of Mr Strauss-Kahn's fame. "This dossier is all about destroying a presidential candidate," he said.
The trial continues.