Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is set to be tried on pimping charges today in the country where his presidential hopes were once dashed.
Strauss-Kahn, 65, whose career was ruined after a hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in New York, faces charges in France of aggravated pimping and involvement in a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels.
The French economist, widely known as DSK, faces up to 10 years in prison and a €1.5 million (£1.1 million) fine, as he and 13 other French and Belgian businessmen and police officers go on trial in Lille.
The trial is set to last three weeks, with Strauss-Kahn not expected to give evidence until February 10.
Investigators compiled hundreds of pages of evidence from prostitutes describing orgies allegedly organised by Strauss-Kahn and his co-defendants, centred on the expensive Carlton Hotel in Lille.
Strauss-Kahn says he took part in "libertine" activities but insists he never knew the women involved were sex workers.
He has also said he is being hounded unfairly over his lifestyle in a country where frequenting prostitutes is not illegal.
Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign from his £330,000-a-year position as head of the IMF in 2011 after he was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.
Strauss-Kahn said the sexual encounter was consensual but called it "a moral failing" and New York prosecutors dropped the case three months later, saying the maid had "undercut her credibility."