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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
French politician denies sex allegations
Dominique Baudis
Mr Baudis says the allegations are part of a conspiracy against him
Veteran French politician Dominique Baudis has strongly denied allegations that he took part in sado-masochistic orgies hosted by a serial killer.

"I am going to confront the slander head-on, look it in the eye and grab it by the throat," Mr Baudis said on TF1 television on Sunday.

Mr Baudis is head of France's media watchdog, the CSA, and a leading anti-pornography campaigner.

I will not rest until I find out who is behind this muck
Dominique Baudis
He has said he is suing two former prostitutes who made the allegations, which he describes as a part of a "frightening conspiracy" by the porn industry.

The ex-prostitutes allege that sado-masochism "evenings" took place outside Toulouse in southern France in the early 1990s - some in an abandoned chateau belonging to the city.

Robes

"I have never directly or indirectly frequented [convicted serial killer] Patrice Alegre... participated in or organised barbaric evenings," said Mr Baudis, a former mayor of Toulouse, on TF1.

"I will not rest until I find out who is behind this muck."

But the ex-prostitutes are undaunted.

One of them, known only as Patricia, gave testimony to police implicating Toulouse city officials.

Patrice Alegre
Alegre was jailed for life in 2002
"I recognised men in red robes, I recognised ones with stripes, others with lawyers' outfits," Patricia told France 2 television.

Mr Baudis told Le Monde newspaper that he believed he was being targeted by criminals linked to the pornography industry, who are angry at steps he has taken as CSA chairman to restrict sexually explicit programmes.

"It is a troubling coincidence that as soon as I act against porn on television someone tries to get at me via the world of prostitution," he said.

Alegre was jailed for life in 2002 for six rapes and five murders.

He is also under investigation over a criminal network in Toulouse said to have involved minors and cocaine.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.





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