Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyers Thursday denied a media report the former IMF chief, whose career and French presidential ambitions were halted by his arrest on now-dropped sex assault charges, could leave France to live in Israel.

The report in showbiz magazine Gala was the latest of many to describe, at times in questionable fashion, the downfall of a man whose woes have multiplied rather than diminished since U.S. prosecutors dropped charges he tried to rape a hotel maid.

This is poisonous gossip, profoundly unhealthy and very dubious, said Strauss-Kahn lawyer Richard Malka.

This is not news but disinformation, he told Reuters.

In its story, Gala magazine said Strauss-Kahn was considering an offer to head the Israeli central bank, quoting a French-language Israeli website as the source of the story.

Stanley Fischer, who also worked at the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, is head of the Israeli institution.

The central bank offered no official comment when contacted by Reuters but one Israeli official called the report of a Strauss-Kahn job prospect ridiculous.

Gala magazine based its unsourced story on a trip to Tel Aviv by Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair, a former TV star and heiress. Her grandfather was prominent art merchant Paul Rosenberg and her father was Robert Schwartz, a Jewish resistance fighter during World War II.

Strauss-Kahn's demise began when he was carted off a plane by New York police minutes before takeoff on May 14 and later charged with attempting to rape hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo.

Prosecutors later dropped criminal charges citing doubts about witness credibility, leaving Strauss-Kahn free to return to his native France, where prosecutors said a separate sex assault complaint filed by a writer concerned an incident that happened too long ago to permit judicial pursuit.

MEDIA LYNCHING

The damage to the reputation of a man who was once frontrunner in polls to become France's next president has not stopped there. His name keeps cropping up in media reports on a judicial probe into a prostitution ring in the north of France, known as the Carlton Affair.

That relates to the discovery earlier this year of a network that supplied prostitutes to clients of the luxury Carlton hotel in the northern city of Lille.

It quickly blew into a bigger affair with the arrest of eight people -- several Carlton managers, businessmen and a local police commissioner -- who are now under official inquiry on suspicion of organising prostitution.

Availing of prostitutes is not illegal in France.

Strauss-Kahn has asked investigators for an appointment to explain but not yet been summoned, according to his lawyers, who say he is the victim of a media lynching.

(Additional reporting by Steven Scheer in Jerusalem)