Since Monday, the Second of February, Lille is at the centre of a highly mediatised court case for pimping. A zany redefinition for the Carlton Hotel or how it has unwittingly become the focal point for a sordid case of pimping.
Carlton: the name of a luxury 4-star hotel in Lille, located in rue de Paris and property of the SAS Carlton company. Not to be confused with the Sydney suburb in Australia or the character in the series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Since October 2011, the Carlton of Lille has become, through no fault of its own, the symbol of a politico-porno-legal case, implicating Lille notaries, businessmen and a certain Dodo La Saumure and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ex-minister and ex-director of the International Monetary Fund. The Carlton’s Internet marketing team must be pulling their hair out trying to find new ways for the hotel to keep its position on the first page of Google after the flurry of articles published since Christmas.
Why is the Carlton systematically associated with the case today? Because it all started with an investigation of its former public relations director, suspected of fixing up clients with prostitutes. A bad break for him as, even if prostitution in not illegal in France, pimping is. The irony of the situation is that the « sex for money » and « group sex » hanky panky did not necessarily happen at the Carlton… But the media are headstrong and continue to use the expression « The Carlton affair » even if it may not be wholly appropriate.
And an unlucky event for the hotel too (at first glance!), ’cause if those on the accused bench had been just notorious nobodies – rather than an ex-socialist candidate who wanted to run for the French Presidential elections – it is by no means sure that 200 reporters would have dragged their weary bones to Lille to write about their sexual antics.
In any event, since the affair has become general knowledge, no one can say that the hotel has any problems finding punters for its 195 to 890 Euros a night rooms and suites. The hotel could have changed its name, but did it really want to? Just like with the Festina affair in 1998, also judged in Lille, which brought to light a cycling team’s dope dealings, the fame and fortune of the Carlton hotel has, paradoxically, gone through the roof. So much so that guided tours of the town centre have changed their itineraries to take in the famous hotel at the request of numerous visitors.
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