WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prominent French academic, Richard Descoings, was found dead naked in a New York hotel room on Tuesday afternoon. New York police have opened an investigation because they believe the circumstances of his death are suspicious.

A law enforcement source said that the body of Descoings, director of the prestigious Institute of Political Studies in Paris and a member of France's Council of State, a government advisory body, was found on Tuesday afternoon in his room at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing By Warren Strobel and Sandra Maler)