Dominique Strauss-Kahn found not guilty of 'aggravated pimping' charges

The former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been acquitted of procuring prostitutes for sex parties by a French court, bringing to an end a four year legal saga that exposed his sexual behaviour to the world.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 66, had been charged with aggravated pimping, having been accused of participating in orgies with prostitutes in Paris, Washington and Brussels between 2008-2011 – while he was the IMF chief, and a married man.

The judge said Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a "libertine" and described him as a "customer" - but crucially, not a pimp.

Strauss-Kahn has always denied that he knew the women were prostitutes, although admitted to taking part in what two of the prostitutes described as "beast-like" orgies and telling the court he enjoyed rough sex.

"I must have a sexuality which, compared to average men, is more rough," he told the court in February. "Women have the right not to like that whether they are prostitutes or not," he said.

He was accused alongside more than a dozen other defendants including hotel managers, entrepreneurs, a lawyer and a police chief.

The state prosecutor had already recommended that he be acquitted, arguing there was a lack of evidence leading to a punishable crime.

During the closing arguments of his trial, the Lille prosecutor Frederic Fevre told the court that they were "working with the penal code, not the moral code".

The defence had also argued that the case had descended into nothing more than an indictment of the former IMF chief's moral judgment.

During three weeks of hearings in February, Strauss-Kahn's sexual behaviours were exposed to the world, with two prostitutes accusing the disgraced financier of engaging in brutal sexual practices. However, they also admitted that they had never told him directly what their profession was.

The four year-long case started back in 2011, when a New York hotel maid accused the financier of sexual assault. The case was later settled out of court.

Strauss-Kahn had faced 10 years in prison and €1.5m in fines if he had been found guilty.