Prosecutor 'pays for brothel visits with stolen credit card'
December 23, 2004
An internationally renowned public prosecutor is under investigation for allegedly stealing a colleague's credit card and using it to pay for visits to a German brothel.
Pierre Hontang, the public prosecutor of the south-western French town of Bayonne, is accused of having paid for the services of a prostitute at a conference at which he gave a keynote speech on the "fundamental ethical principles for the public prosecution service".
The governing council of France's magistrature said the Justice Ministry had asked it to suspend Mr Hontang. "It just wasn't something we could ignore, even in France," a spokesman said.
The Strasbourg-based magistrate in charge of the inquiry said Mr Hontang visited the brothel in Celle, Lower Saxony, "on several occasions" between May 22 and 26, while attending a conference of European public prosecutors.
After the first visit, he allegedly used a credit card he had stolen from a German delegate to the conference.