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PARIS (Reuters) - French prosecutors are set to shelve an inquiry into accusations of group rape by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and three friends after a crucial witness retracted her allegations, according to an unsourced report by newspaper Le Figaro.
The inquiry was opened in May as part of an investigation into Strauss-Kahn's ties to a suspected prostitution ring in the northern city of Lille. It focused on allegations by a prostitute, denied by Strauss-Kahn, that the former IMF chief and friends forced her to have sex in a group in Washington in December 2010.
According to a report posted on Le Figaro's website on Saturday, the woman has since retracted her deposition in a letter sent to judicial police, saying that in fact the sex was consensual and that the group was playing "sexual games".
"The investigators, who believe they have gone as far as they can with their inquiries, have sent the file back to the prosecutors and a shelving of the inquiry will follow," the report said.
Court officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Strauss-Kahn, once tipped to win power in France's 2012 presidential race, quit the International Monetary Fund after he was arrested in New York in May 2011, accused of attempting to rape hotel maid.
He has always insisted the encounter was consensual, and the charges were later dropped amid doubts over his accuser's credibility, but his career and marriage failed to recover.
Reporting by Lionel Laurent and Pierre Savary; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Pravin Char