LILLE, France - France's public prosecution service said on Tuesday it was shelving an investigation into allegations that disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a man once tipped to become president of France, had engaged in group rape.

The prosecution service said in a statement it had taken the decision after a young woman retracted an allegation against the 63-year-old, who is also fighting wider accusations of sexual misdemeanor in France and a civil case in the United States.

Strauss-Kahn's legal team welcomed what amounted to a partial victory for their client, who has asked a court to end a wider French inquiry into sex parties organized out of the northern city of Lille.

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